Written by: Christopher Chitty
If you thought sourcing out for an office to buy or rent were the hard parts, think again. Most people are so excited at getting their new office that they forget to plan to equip it. Some on the other hand, think it's going to be easy.
To put things in perspective, imagine your new office as you would your house. Remember all those nights staying up planning a renovation budget? You can expect the same for the office, only it's probably going to take up more time and cost you more money.
But having an office which looks good is crucial in attracting employees. With a globally connected and intelligent workforce, you can expect your future employees to be quite demanding when it comes to a good-looking work environment.
Remember that those employees will be evaluating you and your company just as you are evaluating them. The look of your office will determine how your future hireling judges your company. Keeping it clutter free and neat will be very attractive to not only them but your current workforce.
The needs of every office are different but there are a handful of everyday items you will need no matter how big your work space is or the type of your business.
For instance, what would a telemarketer and a business consultant need for their day to day use?
A telephone. No doubt everyone carries a cell phone these days but it's costly for the company to foot cell phone bills for all their employees. Every office will need telephones or at the very least, a landline.
With a telephone, you have a landline and a landline allows you to set up an internet connection plus Wi-Fi for your office.
Now that you have the computers set up, don't forget about the printer, copier, fax and scanner. Relax, there are such things as a 4-in-1 machine so you don't have to worry too much about space.
Next, you'll want furniture. In fact, you need furniture before you set up the phones. These should be ready to move in to your shiny new office as soon as you get the keys.
But what kind of furniture is good?
If your budget allows it, look for ergonomically designed chairs or tables. Statistics have shown that uniquely shaped furniture which are bright and vibrantly coloured help to increase productivity and improve the mood in the office.
If you can't afford such things (as they can be quite expensive), look for alternatives at the many furniture shops in Singapore as they may have similar items at a more affordable price.
The key here is to look for furniture that is not generic. Inject a little life in your work space. After all, most hours of the day are spent in the office so why not make them enjoyable?
It is not just the furniture which should be vibrant though. Remember to provide proper and sufficient lighting for your office. Dim or dull lights tend to decrease productivity so you'll want the work spaces to be brightly lit.
Lights and other utilities such as electricity and air-conditioning should be ready for use the moment you turn on the switch on day one. If you can't afford air-conditioning, get a ceiling fan. So long as the office is properly ventilated, there should be no problems.
Also, prepare a water dispenser with a steady supply of water. Sometimes work may get too much and your employees will skip lunch. Drinking water or coffee will help them get through days like those.
You might also want to invest in a few wall clocks to be placed in strategic locations. This is especially important if your business is very fast paced such as sales where you have strict deadlines to meet. Having a visible clock overheard will help employees manage their time better as opposed to the often ignored computer one.
Last but certainly not least, give your office a good paint job. Colours which are bright and yet easy on the eyes will help set the mood each morning. White walls are generally decent enough but if you can, experiment with shades of yellow or red. Stay away from earthly colours as these tend to have similar effects as dim lighting.
Additionally, you can decorate the office with paintings, plants and flowers to liven it up but don't go overboard. Unless you are opening a museum or a hydroponics farm, keep the decorations to a manageable level. You'll want to give your employees the impression of a home office without overwhelming them with too much visual distraction that their work suffers.
So, to summarise; Prepare utilities such as electricity, lighting and internet, obtain unique and comfortable furniture, give the office an attractive and vibrant paint job and set up the phones, computers and printers.
Once all of the above have been taken care of, you can then decide on how best to improve on your office space, such as how and where to place the desks of your employees and where to set up the pantry.
Approach planning your office as meticulously as you would your home but remember that instead of designing it for one or three persons, you'll be doing it for 10 or more. If you are a start-up company, you will know just how many employees you will need in your office so plan accordingly and make changes as you grow.
A good looking office is a representation of your company's health so if it is doing very well, why not take steps to reflect that to the world.