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Designing Your First Office: A Guide

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship ArticleBecoming an established business with its own premises is a great leap forward in your company’s journey. No longer are you a one-person band; now you can hire talented employees and invite clients and suppliers to your office for meetings. Creating the perfect office space can be a challenge, however. After all, there are numerous aspects to consider, and each one will impact on the atmosphere, efficiency, and first impression you give. With that in mind, you will find two areas to focus on when designing your first office below.

1. Electricity, Heat & Water

Regardless of what industry you are in, you will need a reliable energy supply, which is both cost-effective and eco-friendly. You will no doubt be running a number of computers, providing internet access, telephone lines, along with lighting and more. One highly popular option, especially in newer builds, is to use solar panels to power the building. These convert sunlight to electricity, but the good news is that they work even in cloudy weather. What’s more, sunlight is free, which means your electricity bill will be reduced by opting for this energy source.

When designing your office, you will also need to keep in mind the comfort for everyone who is in occupying the space, whether that’s employees, clients, or just yourself. To keep the office warm and cozy in the depths of winter, PBE Fuels are your go-to for biomass boilers, which use sustainably sourced wood pellets to provide adequate heating for the whole building. By picking biomass, you will be choosing a self-sustainable heat supply and one which will also work to lower your heating bills.

Comfort also applies to your water supply. Without clean, running water, you will not be offering the legal requirements to your workforce. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to provide a healthy, safe environment, and this includes drinking water. Of course, most offices opt for office water coolers, but you still must ensure the water running from your taps is drinkable.

2. Décor Scheme

The next step in designing your first office is choosing how to decorate it, including the color scheme you want and the furniture. It is a lesser known fact when planning your first office, how impactful color can be in regards to productivity and overall atmosphere. The color possibly depends on your business’s logo, but take the time to consider what feel you want to evoke in the room. Purple, for instance, can work to represent magic and mystery, or it can appear somewhat fake and artificial. White, on the other hand, evokes feelings of purity and cleanliness, or it can feel stark and sterile. When deciding on the color scheme, think carefully about how you want people to feel the first time they walk into the room. Do you want to impress clients and show your authority? Use black to create elegance – but use it sparingly, as it can absorb all the natural light.

The furniture will usually depend on the industry you are in; an office-based company will require a series of desks, chairs, and computers, whereas a manufacturing warehouse will need heavy machinery. However, both buildings will require a reception area, and this is where you can make your best first impression. By creating a welcoming, friendly reception area, where clients and potential employees can wait in comfort, you will be subtly showing your professionalism. Opt to place a relaxing couch in the waiting area, along with refreshment facilities, as these are proven to wow clients and make them feel at home.

Great Ways To Improve Your Work Environment

Being a business owner, whether it is a small company or a larger one, is one of the most challenging activities, which is one of the reasons why not everyone can launch a business and make it work long-term. Entrepreneurs have a lot of commitments and daily responsibilities to take care of; besides having the necessary knowledge and skills to start a business, one has to be truly organized and know how to establish relationships with workers. As no one likes working in a disorganized environment, it is important to make changes to the workplace. It is a well-known fact the productivity of the employees is often linked to the environment where they have to perform their tasks.

Optimizing that space and making it look and feel as comfortable and welcoming as possible should be the main priority for business owners. Making a small investment is worth it in this case because your workforce will appreciate your effort and your company will benefit a lot from that. Contrary to popular belief, improving the work environment does not always involve spending large amounts of money. With the help of some simple yet effective tips, business owners can improve the mood, drive, and performance of their workers.

Hire Great Team Members

In order to be able to make a business work, it is essential to hire the best professionals out there. The hiring process is the first step to creating a great work environment. Generally, professional people have a positive attitude and know how to handle difficult situations. If you already have a team of workers, you might want to take some time and assess their work performance. Don’t be afraid to let go of those who are not good enough for your company. You want to avoid hiring toxic workers at all costs as they will easily transform the general atmosphere from a normal one to a negative one, which will decrease the productivity of your workforce. Let poisonous employees go no matter how hard it is for you.

Improve Communication

Working as a team leads to success. As a business owner, you need to be careful when communicating with your team members as your message can be misunderstood. A simple way of motivating workers to become better is by making them feel valued and giving them positive feedback. Your employees need to understand that their work is very valuable and it contributes to the success of your business. Moreover, they need to be able to establish connections between them and know how to communicate effectively. Improving communication is simple if you keep your employee’s feedback in mind. Ask them how they feel about this aspect and think of ways of showing gratitude for their work.

Create a Comfortable Office

One of the most important aspects that provide great results is the office where your employees perform their work. You need to make sure that little aspects such as lighting and office furniture are comfortable enough for your workforce. Working in a clean, organized office can have great effects on the team members and their relationships with both you and each other. For example, you need to allow employees to work in a comfortable place, whether it is a certain area of the office or a standing desk. If the furniture of your office is considered “bad” or “uncomfortable” by the workers, they will be less productive. A virtual office is a great option in this case because they are a lot cheaper and provide all kinds of facilities.

Add a Nice Smell

According to academic studies, there is a close relationship between certain scents and memories. They found that certain scents can have a positive impact on people. Although different people can react in different ways to certain smells, there are subtle scents that add to the overall atmosphere. Therefore, if you’re working with traditional office space, you can add a few flowers and plants to each corner of the office. For a fresh and clean atmosphere, you can count on air fresheners. However, opening windows or burning a scented candle has a great effect as well. A cheap bouquet of fresh cut flowers works wonders in any office. It does not only elevate the aesthetics of the place, but it also provides a fresh smell.

Schedule Breaks

Breaks are an important part of the workday. Most workers tend to stare at their screen for a long period of time without taking any breaks for their eyes. You should encourage your employees to take regular eye breaks each time they get a chance. Even a few moments of looking away can make a big difference for the health of their eyes. At the same time, it is just as important to step away from what you are doing. When you step away from your work and focus on your surroundings, you come back with a fresh pair of eyes and mind. You can create a relaxing room where workers can play games, chat or listen to music while they are on their lunch break. Make sure breaks take place often in so that you can prevent burnout.

Water and Snacks

Work days are long and tiring, and people need to stay hydrated all through the day. Nonetheless, water is a pain to drink for some. A great way of motivating people to drink water while they work is by adding a bottle next to their desk. Water improves brain functioning, prevents headaches and makes you feel fresh. As plain water is boring for some, it might be a good idea to provide workers with either flavored water or lemon and fresh mint so that they can prepare lemonade. Moreover, taking a few short snack breaks is just as important when it comes to improving the work environment and the general atmosphere. Workers are encouraged to disconnect from work, communicate with one another and leave their chairs for a few minutes.

No matter where you work, you need to make an effort to create a comfortable space. These tips might come in handy whether you are a business owner or a simple worker. They can be easily customized to your needs as there is no strict recipe for success.

Optimize Your Work Environment With These Simple Tips

Your workforce

The efficiency of your workloads depends heavily on the speed of your workforce, and how good they are at their jobs. Having work done fast is one thing, but having quality is another. Often quality work is hard to guarantee if the employees are under a lot of stress on a daily basis, and it can often be hard to focus. In this case, it’s important to make sure you’ve created a much more stress-free environment for everyone to work in. Many factors can go into creating this calm environment; you just have to know the people who work for you if you want the best results. Firstly, bringing everyone closer can help out a lot if you want to raise the moods.

Teamwork is an essential part of any workforce, as it determines how well everyone can work with one another. If you assign jobs that have to be done in teams, the quality and rate that they’re done at will depend on how much they all trust one another. There are many occasions where you should organize team building activities to strengthen the bond, as not only can it bring a more relaxed environment, but it can inspire more productivity. It gives people a reason to value their jobs more, especially if they can get along with their colleagues.

Team building isn’t the only method, investing in other ways to encourage teamwork can also help over time. Products like onsight connect – Librestream can help not only to allow teams to work together, but also help with their efficiency. Having a medium for everyone to work at the same level while being able to actively assess and learn from one another is an extremely effective tool, and is sure to improve individual productivity.

Your workplace

Your workplace also has an impact on how well everyone can get through their work. It’s important to make sure there’s nothing around to distract people while they’re fulfilling their job. Usually, an effective method would involve not allowing the use of phones or other devices that may cause distractions. Even with the simplest of tasks, losing focus can be as easy as receiving a text. It’s not because of the importance of said text, but the lack of motivation to do their job.

When it comes to making your office a better environment, you should focus on creating something that’s not too dull. While it’s not distracting, dull can often be depressing and demotivating, which is never good for efficiency. Creating your optimal work environment should involve light coloring, possibly some music, and not too many decorations. You shouldn’t have anything that’s likely to catch the eye or attention of your employees, but you also need to make sure you’re sparking creativity. Hence the use of music; which relies heavily on the demographics of your workforce.

Creating the ideal workplace can be difficult, especially if you’re looking at a pretty diverse group of employees. With that said, making sure you’re making a relaxing environment is the best you can do, along with enforcing employee synergy. It’s effective if everyone can get along, else you might need to think about finding new employees who will. As harsh as that sounds, you have to make sacrifices if you’re looking for efficiency.

Why Does Elon Musk Insist On Bamboo Flooring In His Car Plants?

Tesla hopes that by the end of next year, it’ll be churning out more than half a million cars a year, a significant uptick from the current rate of about 100,000. And where will all of those cars be inspected? On a bamboo floor right at the end of the factory’s production line.

Why you might ask, would Tesla CEO Elon Musk insist on a bamboo floor to inspect cars? What is so special about the flooring? As always, Musk has his reasons. He believes that if you’re going to inspect a product for quality, then whatever is framing that product must also be beautiful and flawless. Bamboo flooring is, by most accounts, stunning. And so by using this flooring, Musk hopes that it will emphasize any defects in cars coming off the production line. It’s almost like the cars themselves have to graduate from an art masterclass before they’re allowed out onto the streets.

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article
Photo courtesy of Maurizio Pesce via Wikimedia Commons

What can this level of attention to detail teach other businesses? Why does something as apparently insignificant as a bamboo inspection floor mean so much to people like Musk?

It all comes down to the environment. Musk doesn’t see the elements of his company in isolation. There’s not an executive, a board, a marketing team, a production team or any other arbitrary group. Instead, the whole business environment is a living, breathing entity – and like other entities, it’s affected by its environment. Can you emulate this approach to environment in your business?

Cleanliness

Factories are supposed to be dirty places full of oil, dirt, and dust. But to talk a walk in Musk’s Fremont plant in California is to enter what seems like a clean room that just so happens to be making cars. Musk says that working environments need to be perfectly clean to ensure that no compromises are made on the product. A clean environment is an environment which employees unconsciously respect, whereas, in a dirty environment, they are more likely to make careless errors and accept second best.

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article
Photo courtesy of Maurizio Pesce via Wikimedia Commons

This is why professional commercial floor cleaning is such big business in offices up and down the land. Bosses realize that in order to get the best out of their team, they need to work in a spotless environment.

Stunning Lighting

Musk’s car factory is one of the largest buildings in the world by footprint. But despite that, it’s also one of the brightest. When the factory was first bought, it was a dark and dingy place. But since moving in, it’s become light and airy, thanks to the installation of hundreds of skylights and LED ceiling lamps.

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article
Photo courtesy of Bill in SF via Wikimedia Commons

Why is this important? Well, it turns out that employees who are exposed to natural light are more productive than those who aren’t. If natural light isn’t possible in your offices for any reason, try supplementing it with naturally-coloured artificial lighting instead.

Allow Desk Customisation

Finally, allow desk customization. Research shows that employees who are able to make their desks a little more homely work harder and longer than those that aren’t.

The Apollo Attitude – When Failure is Not an Option

It’s hard to beat the movie Apollo 13 for drama. Over 200,000 miles from Earth, in the vacuum of space, an explosion disabled a space capsule on its way to the Moon.

The mission was over. And it would have been reasonable to assume the astronauts’ lives were over, too. Yet three days later, the astronauts were standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier.

Then there was the three-masted sailing ship Endurance, which left England in August 1914 under the command of Ernest Shackleton with twenty-eight men determined to cross Antarctica by sled.

The Endurance ended up trapped and crushed to splinters by ice floes. The men lived on the Antarctic ice for another two years.

Total survivors out of the original twenty-eight men? Twenty-eight.

What if you approached every challenge in your life and in your work as if you simply HAD to overcome it? I’ll tell you what – you would do it. You would find a way, and you would get it done.


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About the Author

Roxanne Emmerich’s Thank God It’s Monday!: How to Create a Workplace You and Your Customers Love is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestseller. Roxanne is renowned for her ability to transform “ho-hum” workplaces into dynamic, results-oriented, “bring-it-on” cultures in a day. Listen to the free 60-second audio with teammates each Monday to clean up the craziness in your workplace and focus on getting massive results. Sign up today at www.ThankGoditsMonday.com.