Unlike advertising and content marketing, measuring how your office space affects your sales can be very difficult. That's one reason many small business owners avoid making big improvements to their office spaces. If you've been putting off redesigning your office, make a plan and get the ball rolling. Office space has an impact on client impressions and employee morale. Humans are visual creatures, and walking into an attractive office makes a much better impression than walking into an old, dingy space.
Make Clients Feel at Home
Office space leaves a huge impression on your clients and your prospective clients. When they walk into a dull, stuffy office, they don't want to stay. The ones who truly want to work with you will stay, of course, but you don't want to give possible business any reason to leave before you've shown what you can offer, right?
Clients like to feel special, so if you have an attractive waiting area and conference room to show them, so much the better. It's like giving them a bit of the star treatment. Offer them comfortable chairs in an attractive room, and have beverages and a few snacks on hand. Things don't have to be luxurious or expensive, but the room should have matching furniture and artwork on the walls. Let the clients know, through your design, that you care about your image as a business. It tells them that you also care about the work you'll be doing for them.
Create the Feel of Success
Even if the reverse is true, office space creates the impression that your company is or is not successful, based on how it looks. A cramped, cluttered office filled with old furniture tells a narrative about a struggling business, while a clean, modern office says your business is flourishing.
Both your clients and employees will feel your business' success if you have a well-designed office space. You don't need high ceilings, open plans, and the latest in foreign furniture to create the look of success. A cohesive design style, artwork on the walls, and easy maneuverability throughout the office are good choices to start with. Instead of expensive furniture, go for comfort and understated looks. Choose elements that fit your business industry: a family owned law office might go for traditional furniture, while a design agency will likely gravitate towards modern and bright.
Improve Company Culture
Nobody likes working in cubicles, and cubicles create a dreary office culture, whether or not you mean for that to happen. The amenities you offer in your office say a lot about company culture, even if your office is small. Investing in little design perks that will make your team more comfortable, like ergonomic chairs or live plants around the office, will improve the culture overall.
Design details that show your employees they're valuable as humans are irreplaceable. Try including an attractive outdoor space if it's possible outside your office. A few benches and some pretty landscaping give employees the chance to enjoy being outside without straying too far from the office. A dart board and some magazines in the break room give employees the chance to collect their thoughts and rejuvenate on breaks.
Offer Workspace Options
Open-plan offices are very popular, but they don't work for everyone. Another idea is offering workspace options. A long table or two for teams that do a lot of collaborating is a great idea to have in a conference room. If you are working with an open plan office space, portion off a few workspaces with screens or partial walls for the people who need some quiet space to do private work. Single-person desks and communal tables will give people options for where to sit. Some employees get bored sitting in the same spot all day and appreciate the chance to move around.
You might not have the funds to give everyone a touchscreen computer for heavy design work, but buying one or two for the office and creating communal workspaces is a great idea. Employees can use these tools when they need them and share them when they don't.
Invigorate the Space
Today's work culture is all about work-life blend. Now we know that different employees need alternate environments to succeed, so cater to that. Offer quiet spots for the introverts to sit and concentrate alone while they come up with fantastic ideas. Put a few couches in a rest area for employees who've just had a difficult meeting or presentation and need to take a small break.
For the extroverts, communal areas with simple games will give them chatting room and brainstorming spaces. Don't forget the kitchen or the coffee maker, because snacks and caffeine are major ways to keep tired people going for a few more hours!
Give Everyone Extra Comfort
Nobody likes using old equipment, walking down halls with cracked tiles, or using a bathroom that's falling apart. Smaller businesses don't always have the funds to do big office renovations, and that's OK. But if your office is seriously lacking, you're not giving your employees an inspiring work environment, and top talent won't want to work in your office after visiting.
To fix up your office without spending too much, try a working capital loan. Companies like Kabbage offer working capital loans at great rates, so as long as you do your homework beforehand, you can use the loan to improve your office space. Choose the spots that need the most work, or where you can get the biggest improvement for the smallest investment. Talk to your employees first; maybe you think they all want to rip up the carpeting, but they could be wishing for a nice outdoor space.
Your office space does not need to look like a successful Silicon Valley startup, or like the Google Campus, to improve your sales. Keep it updated, comfortable, and attractive, and your clients and customers will feel better walking through your doors. Your employees will find motivation, too, in the additional options their workspaces offer them.