At a talk about career-building, cartoonist Gene Luen Yang once asked the crowd how Ford got big—yes, the car company.
After a moment, Yang went on to explain that before Ford made their first successful car line, they had to make something even more important. They had to make the car factory. It would be very difficult to make a line of cars without the proper workspace.
This is a metaphor that can apply to all different kinds of fields. Before you start making amazing work, you need the right environment to do it in. That’s why figuring out how to set up an office is so important in your path to success.
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Setting up an office is an exciting time to lay the groundwork for what’s to come. We’ll walk you through all the ways you can turn your new office into a space where people can be productive and feel good about their work.
An Office Supplies List
Let’s start with the basics. Many offices need a large number of basic supplies, like staples and post-it notes. You could also take this opportunity to think about appliances like office printers and scanners.
Small items like staples might seem like the least of your concerns, but keeping your office well-stocked can go a long way in making your co-workers feel prepared for whatever they need to do.
Office Decor Ideas
Figuring out the interior design choices for your office is an exciting part of the process. You can set up an office that tells a story about who you are as a company and what kinds of interactions you expect people to have there.
These interior design ideas can range from the subtle to the more visible. For example, white walls and some plants can make the place feel spacious and calm. But you can also go for a bright color on the walls or some kind of artwork.
Many offices these days have beautiful, whimsical murals that add cohesion to the workspace. A few even have something called “green walls” or “living walls,” which are entire walls (or sections) filled with greenery. And if you want to make a statement but you’re on a budget, you can try a nice vinyl decal with your office logo.
How to Set Up an Office’s Computers
On a practical level, you should do your best to make sure your office is equipped with the right technological setup for all of your needs. Think about whether you expect these needs to grow as time goes on.
If you need a certain level of privacy for the data your office is working with, you might even have to use a special internet connection to keep the information secure. And if you want high-speed laptops, you might want to choose from the best gaming laptop deals. It might seem odd to use a gaming laptop for the office, but these computers are known for their reliability and high computing power—just because it’s a gaming laptop doesn’t mean you have to play games with it.
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Open-Plan vs. Cubicle
These days, lots of new companies use an open-plan design to promote collaboration in the office. This is meant to provide a hip alternative to the traditional cubicle design. Open-plan offices come with both positives and negatives, though.
It’s true that an open-plan design to your office setup can make the whole place seem airy and innovative. It can promote casual conversation between co-workers and make everyone feel connected.
At the same time, this can make some people feel a lack of privacy. And they might feel awkward about ignoring the conversations around them when they need to focus. If people get easily distracted by the sights and sounds around them, they might prefer the quiet environment of a cubicle.
It’s definitely possible to use a cubicle design in a way that still keeps the place looking fresh. Keep in mind that this “enclosed” structure tends to feel confining, so try to push against that as much as possible. You can try out low walls for the cubicles and include lights and plants to make the space feel airy.
You can also try a mix of open-plan and cubicle design. For example, if you’re mainly focusing on cubicles, you can also give the co-workers an open-plan section for collaboration and conversation.
These days, when everyone has a cell phone, landlines might seem outdated. But when it comes to running a business, having a business line is essential for easy contact.
Take a moment to consider how many lines you might need. For example, do you want people in different parts of the office to be able to communicate with each other by phone? You can include an inter-office system in the phone connection if so.
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A comfortable chair is the unsung hero of a great office. If you’re not already thinking about the physical comfort of the people who’ll be working in your office, now’s the time to start.
How much time do you expect people at the office to spend sitting in their chairs? If your business is like most, you can expect that time to exceed a few hours every day. It could even be several hours!
This might help you understand why a good chair is so important. When people feel comfortable in their workplace, they can go longer stretches without feeling strained. And investing in a nice set of office chairs can send a message to the people in your office that you genuinely care about their wellbeing.
Beyond the individual work stations, you might be interested in including some specialized rooms or sections in your office. This can give your co-workers places to go when they need to meet, unwind, and take care of their needs.
If you expect some of the people at the office to have children at some point, a lactation room is a thoughtful way to prepare. These days, people are pretty vocal about wanting a place other than a bathroom to breastfeed a baby or pump breastmilk. Bathrooms can be unsanitary, and they often lack good space for nursing.
A lactation room is a great way to provide privacy and turn the office into a space that’s friendly to new parents.
As we mentioned earlier, a traditional cubicle office can feel confining at times. This is why it’s great to have a large, open conference room where people can have meetings. A nice conference room can also turn into a go-to place to host guests who might drop by the office.
If you have the means, getting a large TV screen for the conference room can be a nice touch. This way, people can make presentations by connecting their computers to the screen.
A kitchen (or even a mini-kitchen) is a wonderful addition to an office. This can really make the place feel welcoming. It also provides a way for people to save on money by bringing and preparing lunches rather than having to buy food from outside.
This doesn’t have to be a big expense. Even adding a microwave and mini-fridge to a break room can turn it into a half-kitchen. And if you can include a simple sink, this would be a huge upgrade from having to use a bathroom sink.
Have you thought about providing a lobby or reception area for your office? This is a great idea if you expect to have visitors from time to time. If your team has a receptionist or someone who fills that role sometimes, a lobby can also be a nice area for them to answer phone calls freely without disturbing co-workers.
A pleasant, welcoming lobby can also make your team feel good every time they walk into the office. You might want to include a daily newspaper here—or even a coffee machine if you don’t have a kitchen.
Filing and Shelves
One thing you might not have put much thought to is the storage in your office. Depending on the type of business you’re running, you might have to deal with a large volume of paper storage (like files, books, and forms).
You might start to find filing cabinets way more useful than you ever thought they could be. Vertical filing cabinets can keep papers organized while saving on office space. And having a great shelving system can help keep everyone’s books and items in order.
You can even have a bit of fun with the shelving. These days, you can find very stylish shelving designs. And having lots of available shelving can encourage your co-workers to decorate their workspace with unique items from home.
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Go Make Your Office Dreams Come True!
It might seem silly to put so much thought into the design of an office, but think about it—this is your chance to design an environment that really works for you and your team. Learning how to set up an office is an excellent way to set the stage for something amazing. So go out there and make it happen!
And for more key tips about entrepreneurship and the business world, check out the rest of our site.