What’s the most important thing you should do when starting a business?
Ask this question to would-be entrepreneurs, and you’ll most likely hear finance-related answers like “raising enough start-up funds” and “knowing how to maintain a positive cash flow”. Other replies you’ll probably get include “creating a solid business plan”, “seeking support from angel investors” and “looking for skilful and talented employees”.
All of these answers are correct but, if you’re planning to put up a small or medium-sized venture, take note that these aren’t the only things you must do. If you want to make your business lucrative and profitable, you also have to focus on one important thing: ensuring your new headquarters is conducive to productivity.
“Why do I have to do this?” you might ask. “Isn’t hiring hard-working staff enough? I’m planning to give more than the minimum wage, so I should expect my personnel to do their best at all times.”
Well, this sentiment is partly true; after all, as an employer, you definitely have the right to demand efficiency and productivity from your staff. But here’s the thing: no matter how ready, willing and able your employees are, they wouldn’t be able to do a great job if they’re working in a less-than-stellar environment. Even if you’ll hire the best and most talented people, they’ll still perform poorly if you’ll put them in a dirty, messy and unattractive place that makes them uncomfortable and prevents them from focusing on their tasks.
So, as soon as possible, take some steps to create an office that promotes productivity and encourages your staff to be creative and efficient. Some of the things you must do include:
Buying high-quality office furniture
Have you tried sitting on an uncomfortable chair that made your backside hurt no matter how many times you adjusted your position? If your answer is “Yes”, imagine how your employees would feel if you made them use awkwardly designed furniture. Most likely, they wouldn’t be able to concentrate on what they’re doing and, as a nasty bonus, would be left with aching muscles at the end of the day.
With these in mind, you must make sure that your office is furnished with the right chairs and desks. Specifically, look for those that are designed with ergonomics in mind; these can help your staff stay comfortable even if they’d work for several hours straight and ensure they can concentrate on their job. These furniture can also keep them away from having stiff necks, painful backs and other types of musculoskeletal discomfort, helping them maintain good overall health and reduce their sick days.
Filling your office with plants
Many entrepreneurs baulk at decorating their workspaces with plants. Some don’t want to deal with the responsibility of taking care of greenery, while others think that potted flowers won’t mesh with their chic and modern company image.
But don’t make the same mistake. Sure, indoor plants need to be watered, pruned and exposed to sunlight every now and then, but it’s nothing your maintenance personnel can’t handle. And the payoff for this small effort is huge: studies have shown that bringing plants (such as pothos, gerbera daisies and spider plants) into an office can improve its indoor air quality and reduces the number of harmful pollutants that its occupants breathe in. This means you and your staff can avoid the illnesses that come from inhaling dangerous toxins (like VOCs, formaldehyde and benzene), and you can improve your overall health and have the energy to be more productive.
Worried about your company image? There’s no need to fret since you have lots of indoor plants to choose from. Just pick those that match your company colours and/or the interior design you want, and you’re on your way to having cleaner indoor air and a chicer, more attractive space.
Choosing the right colours
You might not realise it, but colours actually have a huge impact on your employees’ productivity. Because of this, you need to do your research to find out which hue best matches your business and is the perfect option for your workspace. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Soft yellows and muted oranges create a welcoming feeling, so they’re a fantastic option for your reception area.
- Reds and yellows are a great choice if your business is in a creative industry such as graphic design and video animation. If your work requires mind work (like accounting and financial analysis), you’re better off with blues.
- Plain white or light grey walls are okay, but they can get dull and boring and can put your staff to sleep (making them less productive!). If you really want to stick to neutrals, make sure to spice things up with bright decorations and vibrant accessories.
Letting natural light in
Installing enough lighting fixtures in your workspace is important, but don’t just stop there. To further promote productivity, you need to take some steps to let sunshine in, such as placing workstations within 20 feet of windows and even replacing non-load bearing concrete walls with glass ones. Doing this is important since natural light can help in preventing eye strain, headaches and blurred vision (all of which can affect staff efficiency and output). It also increases worker safety since your employees can easily see what they’re doing and can stay away from accidents and injuries.
Exposure to sunlight also has positive effects on your staff’s overall wellbeing. A 2014 study found out that office staff who get more sunlight have better sleep quality and are more physically active, which means they can develop a stronger immune system, have more control over their weight and enjoy better health and fitness. These, in turn, can translate to a more impressive performance at work.
These are just some of the ways to create a workplace that’s conducive to efficiency and productivity. You can tackle these tasks on your own but, to get excellent results, it’s advisable to hire an expert. If you require a fit out, why not give Saracen a try? They’re a team of office interior fitout specialists and can help you design and build an inspiring and attractive work environment. They take care of the entire process from start to finish and will even assist you in planning your IT and telecoms infrastructure, complying with health and safety regulations and doing other tasks. Just tell them what your needs and ideas are, and they’ll help you come up with the best possible headquarters for your new business.