It’s an investment that’s good for you
Startup companies on a vast number of niches mushroom from every corner of the world. Thanks to technology and accessible internet, startup founders and employees enjoy working remotely. We work where the wifi is and we rock our alternatives to the 9-to-5 office job setup.
Because people can flexibly work from home, library, hotel room, or cafe, it doesn’t mean that businesses, especially startups should ditch the idea of having an office.
The office is still the environment where people do serious business. It’s a place where a company can engineer its own growth. For startups who want to run longer in the business marathon, this is an investment that you must not overlook. It can be your team and your business’ tool to thrive in the business scene.
Here’s why your startup needs an office:
It’s easier to attract talent
Startups need the best and brightest people in their team to help them grow. One way to attract and keep an asset to the company is by having a well-designed physical office.
Think about an applicant’s first time in your office space. They establish the first impression on your company based on what and how your office looks like. If your office seems to provide a fair and comfortable working environment, they’ll be more interested in working with you.
Moreover, the office evolved to be the extension of a company’s brand and culture. Office design is your tool to tell your startup’s role in the community and how awesome it is to be a part of its growing team. If the applicant feels like they’re a fit in your community, then, they’ll become more inspired to build their career with you.
What you can do: Build and design your office based on your brand. Use decor that tells a story to people. Most companies take advantage of graphic design to communicate their brand and reinforce good corporate culture.
It’s for strengthening your teams
Your employees need a supportive work environment to help them function well as a member of your team. By giving them an office, you’re fostering a dynamic working relationship where they can support each other. You can use workspace design to weave your employees with different and competing cultures, values, and behaviour towards meeting the company goals.
What you can do: Instead of putting up opaque walls in the office, use glass partitions. According to our Sydney architects, it improves office visibility, maximises the use of light, and promotes transparency in the company.
It promotes a healthy social life
The office is an ecosystem where people interact in order to grow. It is normal for co-workers to be friends. They’ll hang out during breaks or even after office hours. Being able to socialise with others helps them build rich personal relationships. This is how they learn new things and cope up with work-related stress.
What you can do: Provide communal spaces such as a pantry, cafe, kitchenette, or gym. Let these areas be a place where they can interact with their colleagues.
It makes everyone punctual
Remote workers often use video-conferencing tools like Skype and Google Hangout to conduct meetings with your team. Unfortunately, these types of meetings always encounter technical problems, leading to a 10-15 minute delay. It’s not good because time is important and not everyone likes long meetings.
Think about it: when your employees are in the same place, you can expect short and efficient meetings, even during emergency situations.
What you can do: Make sure there is an enclosed space in your office that’s dedicated to meetings. If you’re creating collaborative office spaces, use sound-proof glass as the walls or windows of your meeting rooms to keep the noise out.
It makes employees more accountable
Companies always deal with productivity and accountability issues. Let’s face it, remote working makes some of your employees disappear. They don’t instantly respond to emails and they always appear idle or busy on Google Chat. This could mean another task delayed or undone.
Having an office enables you to reach out to your team better, compared to just giving them tasks via chat or email. You can also monitor their work properly in the office.
It attracts investors
The office gives clues about the company’s standing, including financial health and stability. Being able to maintain a good workplace is a sign of healthy business. This image can help you win more investors in the future.
What you can do: Always seek advice from your investors or mentors. There are a lot of factors to consider before moving your operations to an office. Once you’re ready, rent a small office and redesign it for your company.
It’s a place to grow
The office should be able to show the management’s willingness to invest in the career growth of their employees. When your teammates feel that they’re improving their skills and learning something new, they’ll be more motivated to stay in your company for a longer period of time.
What you can do: Make the office feel like home. Make room and time for workshops, mentorships, or peer facilitation. You can organise these events in your own office, particularly in a bigger conference room.
It helps people live a healthy lifestyle
As mentioned earlier, an office promotes culture. This affects the employee not just at work but outside of work as well.
For example, when the office provides a healthy meal for the employees, the management is helping them start a healthier lifestyle. Moreover, going to work is a form of exercise they commit to everyday. They climb up the stairs and walk on sidewalks. This is what they miss if they’re working from home.
What you can do: You can promote activity in the office. Encourage them to take the stairs more than they use the elevator. An in-house gym might inspire them to quit the sedentary lifestyle.
You can also designate areas for fun and games. For example, our very own Gold Coast architects designed our office in Varsity Lakes, QLD. with an activity area where the staff can hang out and play ping pong. It puts a smile on everyone’s faces and that happiness reflects on the quality of work they do.
Having an office exposes everyone to diversity
An office is a collective group of people with different skills sets, experience, and views on issues related to the business. The more diverse they are, the more ideas you can explore and the more things you learn. Having an office ensures that each member of your team has a chance to express themselves personally in a collegial atmosphere.
Having an office will be a challenge, but shouldn’t scare you
Operating in an office is not a light decision. This is a costly investment and it needs about three to five years of commitment. It’s a risk since we can’t be so sure of the company’s standing in the next five years.
However, you must not let those doubts scare you from moving forward. You can read and consult resources so you can understand what it takes to have and manage an office space. Ask your mentors (and investors) for advice. They can honestly tell you if you’re ready to establish your startup’s office. Remember, launching your pad opens your company’s next phase of growth. Claim it, when you can!
This article was written by Charlene Ara Gonzales, a design writer from Superdraft Pty. Ltd. Their team of architects is the leading residential and workplace designers in Australia.