Office Administration

How to Setup Your First Office Space

We spend so many of our waking hours working, it only makes sense that the environment we work in should be a great place to be.  

Setting up an office may appear to be a straightforward task; a room, some desks, chairs, computers and telephones, how difficult can it be? In reality, there is alot to consider when it comes to setting up a space. How big should it be? How many people should it accommodate? What expansion plans do you have? Will clients or customers be visiting? What facilities do you need?

Then there are the the needs of your employees to consider. Think about the lighting, décor, desk layouts and productivity considerations that will maximise your businesses performance and boost employee satisfaction. An effective office set up should be pleasant, productive and cost-efficient.

We’ve put together a guide of all the things to consider to set up your first office.

1. Start with a Plan

Like many things, planning is essential to ensure the process runs smoothly. Put together a budget and document a list of everything that you’ll need for your office such as:

  • Desks
  • Chairs
  • Computers
  • Phones & Phone Services
  • Conference Equipment
  • Internet Equipment & Internet Services
  • Stationary
  • Filing Cabinets or Storage
  • Kitchen Facilities & Equipment
  • Bathroom Facilities & Equipment
  • Parking for Both Vehicles & Bikes
  • Lighting
  • Heating & Air Conditioning
  • Photocopiers
  • Whiteboard/projectors
  • Insurance
  • The list goes on!

As equipment expenses can be significant, set priorities and select what’s most critical to get your business up and running!

2. Choose a Preferred Location

If the space is yet to be selected or acquired, this should be carefully considered. The location is critical for employees, clients and other stakeholders. Having nearby transportation options, on-site parking, café’s, and other facilities such as banks, shopping centres, pleasant and safe surrounds is not only convenient, but will also help improve your brand’s image. Depending on availability, you may need to have multiple location options on your shortlist, as the space you select is critical.

3. Select the Space

Selecting the right office space is the next step and should be based on what the business requires, allowing for any expansion plans in the future.

As a general rule you’re likely to need ~7 square metres per person for desk space. You should also consider the following:

  • Number of employees/desks
  • Meeting room requirements
  • Reception area space
  • Kitchen, bathroom & leisure facilities
  • Natural light
  • Colours, materials and current décor
  • An outdoor BBQ area or other options

Evaluate the building itself in terms of its age, foyer, stairs or elevators and any concierge options.

4. Security

Security is sometimes overlooked as a priority, however it’s importance should not be understated. Review the access control systems in place and how this will be managed with employees. Doors, locks, alarms, smoke detectors, and video surveillance may be necessary, as well as fireproof cabinets to protect sensitive documents. Make sure to consider approvals and permissions for access when onboarding staff into their new office space.

5. Design an Office Floor Plan

Are you looking to setup an open plan office or does a closed plan, or modular workstation office work best for you?

  • Open Plan: is great for collaborative work, however there is minimal privacy and it can be naturally loud which may hamper productivity.
  • Closed Plan: promotes a quieter working environment with increased privacy, however it requires more space and hinders collaborative working.
  • Modular Workstation: Modular workstations are flexible working arrangements that combine elements from both open and closed plan options. For example, they might allow you to establish individual workspaces or they can be configured with other pieces to create a collaborative workspace.

Ultimately, it depends on what’s best for your business.

6. Use an Interior Designer

If budget permits, and depending on the space you’ve selected, customising the area in terms of colours, lighting and décor can improve the environment immensely.

Brightly coloured walls, funky couches, table tennis tables or a well-equipped outdoor BBQ area can breathe life into your business and enhance employee satisfaction. Who wouldn’t enjoy a Friday night BBQ with drinks and some table tennis?

Be sure to get some employee feedback on this too.

7. Purchase the Equipment & Hire Tradies

Once the space has been leased or purchased, your layout and design updates have been planned, the next step is to purchase the equipment and schedule the work in!

8. Move in and Get Setup

Moving into an office does require some planning in itself as it’s likely to disrupt your daily work. It’s worthwhile using a professional team to help plan out the move and once you’re in, it’s probably time to celebrate!

Setting up an office is a challenging and rewarding process and one that should be carefully considered to help maximise your businesses success. Good luck!

“The opinions expressed by BizWitty Contributors are their own, not those of BizCover and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Please read our full disclaimer."

About the author

Nick Di Pietrantonio

Nick is the Executive Director of Gasmate, an iconic Australian brand that has been a market leader in outdoor leisure for over 30 years. Australians have been buying Gasmate products since the 70's for their outdoor adventures and backyard lifestyles, knowing that every product meets stringent quality and innovative standards.

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