With central London commercial office space beginning to reach the heights of £60 per square foot, it’s a wonder that growing businesses manage to establish themselves in the city at all. The growing world of new media and tech startups are littered with stories of companies spending their first few years in a parents’ house, a garage lock up, or condemned buildings.
The problem is not just limited to startups, though. Growing companies find that they cannot afford the larger floor area that their numbers ideally demand. The choice that many organisations make is to migrate out of London. If your location is vital to your business, though, what options are left? A clever use of space is surely the answer.
The best way of making the most of the space that you have available is to use every possible inch of it. Since the likelihood of catalogue items of furniture exactly fitting a building space are low, the most effective way to achieve this is to invest in bespoke furniture. Yes, this is a greater initial outlay, but it will likely allow you to fit in that vital extra storage or additional desk space that allows for the increase of your headcount without the need to move location.
Glass and Light
Even in the smallest of spaces, it is important to maintain some level of privacy. However, partitioning an area makes it feel poky and claustrophobic. Glass is an ideal material with which to tread the thin line between priorities here. It is a material that is enjoying its own technological revolution, with glasses that can convert from transparent to opaque at the touch of a button. The spread of natural light that glass accommodates will prove a vital enabler of wellbeing for your workforce.
It is key, at the earliest point of laying out your office scheme, to consider the practicalities of foot flow. How will people move around the space? If you are using multiple floors, consider how mirroring the layout from floor to floor may help or hinder the flow of your workers. Also, make sure that you have your utilities mapped out. Sufficient water and electrical access need to be ensured for a layout to work.
A holy grail, surely – but normally a myth! So if your paper archives are vital but bulky, consider storing them securely off-site. Storage is key for paper records, and by commissioning bespoke office storage solutions, you can make use of unused areas, perhaps at height or within corridors, to store records without compromising your day to day working space.
Mixed Up Space
If space is limited, it’s important not to ditch the social areas. This will have a detrimental effect on the life balance of your workers, and you may find productivity impacted. Consider multi-use spaces instead. A reception that becomes an after-hours social area, for example. Or dedicate more space to your staff kitchen to make it a social lounge too. With retractable walls, you are able to enjoy three meeting rooms in the space of one; the only challenge will be in the scheduling.
Once you have your ideal layout pinned down, turn your attention to the concept of the space. This is not a luxury that you can brush aside. By undertaking a colour scheme that reflects your corporate branding and colours that inspire creative thinking, the productivity returns that you will experience from staff will repay your consideration. A well-functioning team is built on a sense of ownership and quality of environment plays a very real part of this.
The pressures of the London office market are a challenge that many organisations do not need. It takes preparation time to make the most of a smaller space, and we understand that many organisations do not have the resource to do this. This is why we go the extra mile to share our experience and knowledge to ensure that your space, whatever size, is utilised to its maximum.