Setting up your first office is an exciting event. Not only is the process itself engaging, but it also signifies something beyond the setup itself—a promising new era. Whatever the reason for your first office, we’re willing to bet it’s because big things are on the horizon for you. Before anything else, the office space needs to be your own. This is your station. Your Mecca. Apart from the right hardware, proper security, and ergonomic furniture, remember that your first office space should reflect your own personal style and work ethic.
The Right Space & Layout
When planning for your first office space, it’s paramount that you consider the location and layout of your space. Even if you’re working solely online and don’t need to meet with clients in person, the right location can create an environment that begets productivity, expresses your brand, and most importantly makes you and your team happy. The same phenomenon occurs if you’re working from home. Instead of doing work on the kitchen counter, try to have a little space dedicated to your job so you feel like you’re stilling “going to work” even if you never leave the house. At the end of the day, what you choose is case-specific, but it’s essential to have an office environment that encourages you to put your best foot forward.
List Out the Essentials
The list of essentials is going to differentiate business to business. Whether you’re in tech, running a clothing line, or offering a digital service, the type of equipment you’re going to need will range. It’s generally recommended that you begin with the bare minimum. You don’t want to spice up your overhead for no reason. Thus, what sort of hardware are you going to need? How about furniture? Services? Is a decent internet speed fine, or will you need to support a large swath of employees? How about a security system? Identify exactly what you’re going to need, then price it at the bare minimum. You can always add to your budget later.
If you’re not techy, you may want to hire someone to execute a tech audit. At a cursory analysis, what type of hardware—outside of the basic router and modem—are you going to need? For your type of business, do you need high-powered rigs like gaming computers? Or will the basic laptop suffice? This, again, is going to be dependent on your business. Remember that every little thing adds up. From the multiple computer monitor cable types, patch cabling, extension cords, phone equipment, security hardware, printers, and scanners, these smaller items add up. When it comes to hardware, look for bulk deals or promotional material, as buying things brand new isn’t always the best idea for your budget.
Personalization can go a long way. If you’re on a strict budget, be creative about how you breathe your own style into space. While you may think, “an office is about utility, not an environment,” a space that attracts you, and attracts others, to what you’re selling is actually conducive to productivity. Everyone has their stations. Writers have their library offices. Painters, their studio. These are places which beget their full concentration and excite them to produce creative content. Thematically, there is no difference when it comes to businesses across industries.
Don’t Forget IT
It’s understandable not to want to pay for an IT service. You’ve never been hacked, nor have you ever had a server fail, right? Yet, when it comes to your business, smaller businesses are at higher risk for such breaches, being that they typically have less security in place. At the very least, you’re going to want to provide a healthy network for you and your team to work on. This means a server, backups, and the necessary services which help mitigate hardware or software failure. Not all IT services cost a fortune. It’s recommended to, at the very least, see if you can work some sort of platform into your budget.
Shopping for office furniture is a blast. But it’s not without costliness. This refers back to our ‘essentials’ tip, as you need to identify exactly what your office is going to need before purchasing. Remember, there are cheaper alternatives to buying brand-new furniture. Do you really need that new ergonomic office chair? Or will an older model suffice?
Setting up your first office space is about two things: cost efficiency and creativity. Start with the bare minimum, don’t neglect the essentials, and see if it works. If not, you can always add on later and watch your work environment flourish.