Starting a business is an exciting and tumultuous time. While you may have heard of entrepreneurs starting up from their kitchen table or garage, this is not something that will work for many modern firms - and especially not for those where there are more than a handful of employees.
In order to streamline communication, keep everyone close and project the image of a successful business, you're likely to need dedicated premises. Finding the right office comes with many considerations, and it's crucial to establish how much space is needed before you commit.
As there is no universal formula to calculate the right amount of space for each business, you will need to make your best judgement, based on several factors. Here we discuss just a few.
Type of business
The nature and specifics of your business will play a large role in how much space is needed for individual workers, and - if physical coordination with a team is necessary - the space per organizational unit.
For example, if most of the work taking place is on computers, individual spaces can be limited to a cubicle, or a seat at a large shared desk. In contrast, mechanical engineers or anyone who tinkers with inventory and instruments will need more room.
Businesses that start from a position of wealth may have no qualms about allocating plenty of space for each staff member - but few start-up businesses can afford this luxury. Thus, the space given to each employee or business unit is usually determined based on available funds.
In case you need to crunch space to save money, do remember to keep the space per person liveable for your employees. Nobody likes to feel boxed in or constantly watched in their place of work (or anywhere, for that matter). Good lighting - preferably natural light - is also a must.
Apart from the space allocated for each worker, you will need to consider the layout of the space, and factor in facilities such as toilets, a kitchen, a break room and additional amenities such as a reception area or meeting rooms, if you plan to have them.
Additionally, office furniture, equipment, and machinery can take up quite a bit of space, so you should not forget to include them in your plans.
There are several extra considerations that may not directly affect your space calculations, but should still be kept in mind before settling on premises. For one thing, any rental contracts should be read thoroughly to ensure that you do not face unpleasant surprises down the road.
Secondly, look out for maintenance fees. Depending on your location, total space, facilities and layout, maintenance fees may significantly add to the costs of renting or buying a space.
Finally, you should consider how the wider location will suit your and your employees - how close it is to employees' homes, whether parking or public transport is available and what amenities there are in the area for buying lunch or shopping, for example. All these factors will impact on staff happiness and loyalty in the long run.
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