Much like moving into a new home, moving into a new office space can be an exciting – but stressful – time for businesses of any size.
Whether you’re relocating into a new service area to find new clients and expand your reach, looking for a space that reflects your corporate culture and overall ‘attitude’ a little better, or simply getting a bigger space that can better handle your needs, it can be very easy to accidentally get ahead of yourself when it comes to planning your new space and locating furniture for everything. While you might be initially tempted to let your imagination do the talking while you plot your new office layout, there are a few common mistakes a lot of office planners tend to make in regards to furnishing your office and planning the overall layout.
If your office is planning a big move, already in the middle of a big move that isn’t going too well, or if you’re just looking to make your office better furnished than ever before (whether or not you’ll be moving between offices again anytime soon), we’ve pulled together five of the more common pitfalls you’ll encounter during an office move. Here’s what you might finding yourself running into during the move, and what you can do to make it easier on everyone:
Maybe the most frequently-seen, but easily-preventable mistake in office re-furnishing is a myopic focus on practicality. A number of factors can come into play here, but as Podanys points out, you need to avoid falling into the trap of thinking “an office chair is just an office chair”. Your entire staff is going to spend the majority of their time sitting at their desks, right?
While some chairs can get the job done, too much time in an uncomfortable sitting position can actually prove detrimental in the long run. Studies have shown that poor posture or uncomfortable chairs can have a negative impact on workers’ morale, productivity, and even their overall health. Take steps to mitigate that from the get-go by providing ergonomic, comfortable chairs and desks (within your budget) to greet your staff at the new office.
Neglecting the reception space
The old cliche we all heard back in school about the importance of first impressions still holds true in the world of business. The first thing a visitor sees in your office (typically the reception area) is going to make a pretty big impact on how they perceive your company culture at large, and you’re going to want to make sure the impact is a positive one.
Office Space Software suggests considering a practical and refined reception space design that incorporates things like runner rugs to prevent snow and mud from being tracked in, providing signage, coloring, and other strong branding methods to reinforce your company identity. Perhaps most importantly, always trying to leave enough space around your reception desk to hide clutter from incoming packages, outgoing mail, and other types of ‘front room’ clutter like you see both at home and at work.
Not knowing the dimensions of your office
If you’re planning on moving some furniture from your old office into your new one, not having an accurate idea of the dimensions and measurements you’re working with can lead to a whole lot of headaches. From the meeting room, to the open work areas, even to the private offices that the top brass gets to use, go around with a tape measure (or review any available floor plans) and make sure you have exact measurements for every room.
Once you have the needed measurements, compare them with both the furniture you’re taking with you and any future furniture you plan on buying. Just like office plan designers Nikibicare point out, having a gorgeous mahogany desk isn’t going to do you any favors if it makes your office look like a kindergarten.
Focusing on the extraneous
The never-ending real-life Pinterest board of startup culture and tech offices can lead to a strong temptation to start including unnecessary add-ons and ‘employee bonuses’ under the guise of “helping employees relax”. While there is something to be said for offering a space for your workers and staff to relax, collaborate, and renew their focus, a lot of offices can get caught up in the arms race of adding “novelty” to their spaces through things like jukeboxes and even (not kidding) an indoor slide.
Every worker deserves a break room and somewhere they can go to refresh during the workday, but as this Forbes article mentions, something too wacky can take up valuable space and go unused. As tempting as it may be to have ‘fun’ stuff around the office, maybe pass on the foosball tables and giant flat-screen TVs if you don’t quite have the room to spare for all the distractions.
Not planning for the long-term
Finally, in the excitement of a move – or eagerness to finally put the whole thing behind you – you might not put a lot of thought into how your furniture needs might change as your business grows, and develops. New employees will need their own space to work, current staff may get promoted that necessitate moving them into different parts of the space, and so on.
As explained by Michigan-based office furniture designer & planner Steelcase, any new furniture purchased for the new office (and ideally any additional new office furniture going forward) should be easily moved, versatile enough to fit a few different needs, and reconfigurable to help grow with your business. The perfect office furniture, no matter when it’s purchased, should prevent the need to constantly replace furniture when staffing levels and job responsibilities change.
You’ve probably read all this and are thinking “wow, I didn’t expect picking out office furniture to be so expensive” but it doesn’t have to be a hassle as long as you keep these tips in mind. So long as you try to reflect on these thinking points when you start furnishing your next office, you should be able to save yourself a lot of headaches both during the move and for the years to come in your new space – at least, until the next big move.