The Importance of the Office: Why Your Premises Needs to be Right

Creating a business that sells products or services that people want (and at the right price!) is just the first step. Your success can depend on lots of other factors, from how well you market yourself to how good your customer service is, to how well your sales staff perform. Having a great office which not only impresses customers and clients but provides a good workplace for your employees is an important part of the puzzle, and definitely not something to overlook. Whether you’re looking for a space to rent, buy or build, here are a few things to bear in mind.

Find the right location

For some businesses, the site you pick will directly influence whether you’re a success or failure. If for example you run a shop or any other kind of company that relies heavily on foot traffic as a way to get customers, then you need to be in a prime location where enough people are going to be walking past. Unfortunately, this will always cost more, but it could be the difference between make of break of your venture. Some types of businesses just need to be in the right position to be found by customers and so if you’re one of them, then this is something to consider. If you don’t rely on footfall to generate customers for your business, then you’re able to choose a location that’s little further out where you’ll get more for your money. However the spot you pick is still important to consider. You’ll need to think about how easy it will be for customers and clients to get to you, as well as your staff. So look into things like transport links, and don’t forget to leave space for a staff car park on your plot.

Make it eco-friendly

The impact we as humans have on the Earth is devastating. We’ve caused serious damage to our surroundings, however, in more recent years we're all starting to become aware of how we can make changes for the better, due to better education and understanding of the subject. Each and every one of us should reduce our carbon footprint and generally be kinder to the place that we live, but as a business owner there's an additional responsibility on you. The kinds of products or services you supply for people to purchase means that you're effectively swaying the way people treat the environment. You could buy Fairtrade, or choose suppliers that use eco-friendly and sustainably sourced materials. You could go cruelty free or vegan with your products, or only use things like recycled paper and low VOC paints. There are other things you can do as a business and the way you run too. For example,  Items like refillable pens and printer cartridges can save on plastic, just think if every office in the country and across the world did this, the impact we make on the planet could add up in a big way. In the US alone, over four million disposable pens are thrown away every day which amounts to a whole lot of plastic. Saving paper not only saves trees but also water- we live in a digital age but most companies are still using far too much paper. Don't be one of them- instead of sending out paper invoices, receipts and statements to customers, have ‘paper free’ as your standard option. Customers can always request paper copies if needed, however most won't as so much can be done online now. You’re not wasting paper that will simply be thrown away by most customers. Opt to have your business mail delivered electronically instead of through the post too where you can, with the aim to have a paper-free office eventually.

Think about security

We all spend a significant amount of time, money and effort keeping criminals out of our homes- but the same should be true when it comes to our businesses too. This is because these are likely targets for burglars due to high-value equipment, possible cash on site and data that can be stolen from computers and hard drives often being found in workplaces. For this reason, it’s essential to protect your office physically; choose the right kind of doors and windows which are secure and difficult to kick in. Features like a commercial buzzer system to let people in, and the use of key fobs for entry can be useful for monitoring who comes in and out. CCTV and a burglar alarm are a must, and you could also consider things like shutters to lock up after hours. If you’re on the ground floor of a building, have lockable shutters fitted over the windows and doors. These can be the typical metal kind that you find with retail stores, but there are more subtle varieties if you have an office. Lattice style grates can be pulled over the window and locked at night and pulled back in the daytime, so they’re not visible. Invest in an excellent safe and ensure it’s hidden from view, it should be very secure and bolted down to the ground. That way thieves can’t just walk off if they do manage gain entry. Importantly, there should never be too much cash left on site, have a cash collection company come in to securely remove your cash and take it to the bank. With lots of people coming and going in your business, it can be challenging to know at a glance who is meant to be there, and who has sinister reasons in mind.

Get the layout right

The layout is an important thing to get right in your office, you need to make it a pleasant and practical space to work. For example, if you position desks close to windows then you make the most of the natural light. On a psychological level this has been shown to make workers more alert and therefore more productive, and can also boost mood too. Of course, it depends on the nature of your business, but having quieter and more private areas for things like phone calls as well as more open areas for group and collaborative work can be useful. Customise each area to the kinds of jobs your workers do for the best result. Creating a space for workers to sit and relax on breaks means they don’t have to leave the premises each day- not only is this more convenient for them, but it reduces the chances of losing minutes here and there in lateness after returning from each break. You could keep it simple with some comfortable chairs and magazines, or go all out and add a pool table or games machine to encourage socialisation. You could look install a good quality coffee machines and even look into buying or renting pieces of equipment to make the space as good as it can be. If you own the building then re-jigging the layout shouldn’t be too much of a problem, have a builder come in and give you advice on bringing your vision to life. A commercial electrician will be able to hook up the lighting and sockets where they’re needed.

Think about aesthetics

An office space that looks modern and sophisticated will be much more enjoyable to spend time in, and make for a more pleasant working environment for you and your staff. Practicality is key, but aesthetics shouldn't be overlooked. Choose light shades for the walls to make the space bright and airy. Great desks, good quality finishes, and the right lighting will all have an impact. Brighten everything up- tired, drab and dull decor is not going to make the most of the space you have. Work on create an office which innovates and inspires, you will get much more from your workers, as they'll be happier and perform better.

Don’t overlook your premises when you’re putting together your business, chances are it’s much more important than you might realise to you overall success.

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