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What you should know before setting up a physical office for your startup

Posted by Kanika Sinha

April 11, 2016

Deciding how to design and set up the work environment for your startup is one of your most important tasks, yet, it is an often overlooked one.

While your first instinct may be to spend as little as possible on your office space, remember that this is the “face” of your business and as such should reflect your brand. Additionally, by spending less money on features such as desks and chairs now, you risk having to replace them more often.

Consider a study published by the American Society of Interior Designers that found that physical workplace design is one of the top three factors affecting job performance and job satisfaction.

The study learned that 31% of people who were satisfied with their jobs had a pleasant work environment. They also learned that 50% of job seekers said they’d prefer to work in a pleasing physical environment.

So, let’s get to it. Here’s what you should know before setting up a physical office.

Determine your space needs

Before you rush out to lease or purchase a space, first consider your needs. Take the time to really think about what you need in a space.

Ask yourself these questions when determining your needs:

• What do you need in functionality?
• How many employees do you need to accommodate?
• Will your customers visit your place of business?
• Is it big enough for you to grow?
• How long of a lease must you sign?
• What is your budget?

Choose your location wisely

Location, location, location. We’re sure you’ve heard those words before. We repeat them again because location matters.

If your customers will visit your physical office, then it’s a good idea to take your target market into consideration. Decide if your customers can reach you easily.

If you need to be close to suppliers, consider this. While not vital to your location, you might consider your current employees and how your choice of location will affect their commute time and parking needs.

It’s also a good idea to take a good look at the community around the office space. Is it a safe community? Will they be supportive of your business? Are there places close by that your employees can visit for lunch?

Learn about the utilities

When looking at physical office spaces, you’ll learn the rent and deposit amount up front, but you’ll want to consider the extra utility costs if they aren’t included.

You can ask the utility company for a summary of the previous year’s usage for gas, electric and water. Also, consider the trash costs, insurance rates for your chosen location, janitorial costs and any parking fees.

Incorporate your brand identity

The physical office space you choose for your startup is a reflection of your brand identity. While it’s ultimate purpose is productivity coupled with functionality, the space is closely tied to your brand.

The office you choose should symbolize your startup – in other words, when people walk in the door, they should have an immediate association with your startup. For example, if your startup is a young, edgy tech firm, you don’t want a physical office stuck in the 80s.

So, before setting up your physical office, make sure it works with the company culture you want to create.

Plan your paint, flooring, lighting, office structure, furniture, and appliances so they work with your overall theme.

When looking at office furniture for your employees, involve them in the decision. You can stick with a particular scheme, but let them pick out their own chairs. Not only does this give them buy-in, but it ensures they’ll pick out the chair that works for them.

Your physical office, tailored to your brand, is a great employee energizer and the first face of your startup.

Final thoughts

Lastly, be realistic with your needs when setting up a physical office for your startup. Make sure you have a clear picture of what you want and how it fits within your budget.

Do the leg work necessary to acquire the best space your budget allows and one that will grow with your startup through the first few years.

Your physical office can affect employee productivity while saying a lot to your customers about your business.

At the end of the day, your company’s performance matters, so make sure you’ve planned accordingly before setting up a physical office for your startup.

Are you a new startup? Are you looking to get your new business off the ground and watch it rise to success? We are here for you. We can help answer your questions and guide you through the process. Outsource your finances, payroll, HR duties and more to us. Contact Escalon today to get started.

Image: Benjamin Child


Kanika Sinha
Kanika Sinha

Kanika is an enthusiastic content writer who craves to push the boundaries and explore uncharted territories. With her exceptional writing skills and in-depth knowledge of business-to-business dynamics, she creates compelling narratives that help businesses achieve tangible ROI. When not hunched over the keyboard, you can find her sweating it out in the gym, or indulging in a marathon of adorable movies with her young son.

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