While earlier, small office spaces used to seem challenging and troublesome, especially to novice/small-scale entrepreneurs and start-ups, times have changed. With emerging trends in workplace architecture, even a smaller environment enhances productivity as many are now realising how to optimise limited space.
Mr Sammeer Pakvasa, MD, Eleganz Interiors
Here are some suggestions on how you can make the most of a smaller and cosier workplace in order to not only ensure employee productivity but also boost their morale and sustain happiness.
Give importance to lighting
The amount of light coming into a space can impact its users. At times, simply making the room brighter can make the employees feel better, more motivated and consequently generate higher productivity.
The space may not have a lot of equipment, but having adequate light is enough to make it look bigger. More windows can also be added, as natural light is known to increase alertness and productivity levels.
Avoid big furniture
Avoid oversized or dark-coloured furniture, especially when going about interior fit-outs. Additionally, do away bulky and traditional desks. Instead, opt for furniture pieces that come in lighter hues and are made from lightweight materials.
Create flexible spaces
With a limited amount of room available, you need to make your space and furniture more flexible. This can be done by using dividers or folding walls to create adaptable spaces, and these design elements can also be moved around to quickly transform a space for different functions. On the other hand, dividers can be used to separate workspaces between employees, wherein once they are removed, the larger space can be converted for a large chunk of the staff to collaborate on a project.
It is also recommended to use collapsible or movable tables, desks and chairs to freely use the same pieces of furniture for other functions when needed.
For instance, there are desks that come with wheels that are ideal for impromptu meetings as the desk can be pushed to an empty spot, and a few chairs can also be grabbed. Once the meeting has ended, the furniture can be pushed back to its original location.
Create different work zones
When working with a limited amount of space, privacy is often a factor that tends to be at the bottom of the priority list. To encourage collaborations amongst the workforce whilst simultaneously maintaining a level of privacy, different types of work areas can be created within the space.
One private area can be reserved for individual work, which will include enough space for an employee to put his/her laptop and work without being disturbed.
Another zone should be created for group work/assignments/projects. Here, longer tables and couches can be placed so that employees can hold meetings and brainstorming sessions to seamlessly achieve the end-goal.
Maximise open spaces
More importantly, interaction amongst employees can be encouraged by turning lounges and hallways into potential meeting areas. Whiteboard paint can be used on walls to allow employees to jot their ideas when they are within the office premises.
Additional tips include —decluttering and defining the area to release a sizeable amount of space to be used that is otherwise blocked with unwanted material; and using one flooring wall-to-wall as opposed to placing a rug on a carpet or hard flooring.
When it comes to designing and working with a small office space, the most important aspect is flexibility. Every part of the space should remain flexible to serve diverse purposes. Walls can be turned into presentation spaces, while halls can become instant meeting spots, and furniture can be moved quickly to use the space for a different function. The key is to create a space and offer solutions that will allow employees to perform different tasks, hassle-free.