There can be various reasons for expansion in an organisation. The marketing strategy that you went ahead with might have worked in your favour, leading to a sudden increase in clientele. Your website needs to be upgraded to handle greater traffic than usual. And all those social networking sites need a whole new team to manage and utilise them effectively!
How do you deal with all these changes? Obviously, by hiring more hands! And where do you intend to accommodate them? Tongue-tied, aren't you? The best alternative to investing in a bigger office space (and spending more on rent), is to hire an expert to use the existing office space to its highest potential.
How do you achieve this? Well, we are here to help you out with that!
7 Ways To 'Make Space' For Expansion In Your Existing Office
Here are a few ways to help you make room for the new hires:
1. Utilise The 'Extra' Space:
With the offices moving toward a paperless environment and wireless devices, there is a lot of vacant space available within offices. There is more flexibility where the employees can shift around with their Laptops and work anywhere they want mainly because of the open office trends.
The amount of office space per employee has shrunk to 100-125 square feet per worker, down from 225 square feet in 2009. Offices should utilise this extra space efficiently to accommodate newer employees.
2. Invest In Space-Efficient Furniture:
Get rid of Furniture that takes unnecessary extra space. If your business is not paper-centric and a majority of the employees use laptops, do away with big desks that have a lot of storage cabinets.
Opt for large desktop tables where more employees can sit together. Replace large space consuming chairs with modern revolving office chairs. Make sure they are height adjustable and offer natural spinal movements to the workers. A comfortable workplace is the best you can give to your employees which will give you productive and happy people in return.
3. Optimise Space Reserved For 'Remote' Workers:
A lot of companies offer employees the flexibility to work from home. Additionally, there could be female employees who are on maternity leave. Plan the office space according to these varying schedules of different employees and avoid wastage.
4. Create Alternative 'Casual' Spaces:
In any space, there are always corners that aren't utilised effectively. The same holds true for a workspace as well. However, these can be converted into casual working points for employees, to break the monotony of working in the same place all the time. Here are two great ideas to use these corners well.
- Beanbags: Don’t invest much in chairs as they take up space. Go for funky furniture which looks appealing and is preferred by Millennials like Beanbags and Recliners. They add colours to the workplace and make it look lively. The best part about them is that they are movable and can be placed precisely where the employees feel like working from, thereby utilising unused places.
- Private nooks: Invest in private nooks in the entire office. Small go-to workstations not only makes efficient use of space but also saves time. You go to grab a cup of coffee and meet a colleague and get discussing. It’s boring to schedule a meeting for a later time and let the brilliant idea that just crossed your mind wait. Provide small spaces where the employees can discuss peacefully.
5. Avoid Crowding:
With all the increased number of people, your workplace might end up looking crowded. When people feel crowded, they feel stressed which affects their work. To avoid the cramped feeling, try and arrange workstations in a manner that lessens views into others’ workstations while seated.
Instead, try and place workstations facing windows or glasses which gives a spacious feeling and reduces the impression of crowding. The fixed elements such as conference or meeting rooms can be shifted to the interiors of the workplace while workstations can be placed overlooking windows. It will also allow natural daylight to pour in which is another stress buster. Research proves that employees who work in natural light have an overall increased sleep by 46 minutes as compared to their counterparts who work in artificial light.
6. Reduce Sounds and Distractions:
While open offices and shared spaces can help you free up a lot of space, it can also get distracting to concentrate with the noise all around. To avoid this,
- Opt for carpeted flooring which absorbs sound and helps cover up the extra noise to some extent.
- Use acoustic furniture, which is designed to create quiet zones within the office space for meetings.
- Provide employees with headsets when they need to think hard or need privacy.
- Arrange cafeterias and informal places which can get noisy away from workstations. It can get frustrating to reorient one’s thoughts all the time while doing some intricate work, so it’s best to have separate areas to work and mingle with colleagues.
- Convert one of the meeting rooms into three or four smaller zones to let employees work in privacy. This is especially needed while making calls when you need to assimilate information and just have a conversation peacefully.
7. Utilize all Available Spaces :
Like the corners of an office, as mentioned before, one of the least used spaces in an office can be the reception area. If you have a big stretch at the entrance of the office that is sparsely used, you can convert a quarter or half the space into workstations for your employees. Make sure to separate the reception area though as you do not want employees getting disturbed with the din of activities going on at the front area.
Convert one of the meeting rooms into a dedicated workstation as studies prove that 67% of all meetings are useless. Unproductive meetings with no concrete conclusions are a disaster and should be avoided.
This is possible by making meeting rooms not so comfortable, which means getting rid of sofas or chairs that make people feel cosy. The idea of huddle rooms is catching up the pace where stand up meetings are held and prove incredibly efficient as the employees are more aware while standing and discussing ideas. These meetings can therefore basically be conducted anyplace that offers privacy to a group of team members, thus freeing up one of the meeting rooms.
8. Standing Stations:
Another space efficient idea is to opt for standing workstations. Standing desks can improve an employee’s productivity by at least 10%. Sitting for hours together in front of desktops is proving to be unhealthy for employees. Standing workstations allow more movement than traditional sitting zones and at the same time frees up space for chairs. Employees have the freedom to walk up to a standing desk or a sitting workstation as their body demands.
When the real estate prices are on increase, you can save resources by using your existing office space more efficiently. Speak to an expert today who can help you out with your office space planning needs!