How important the office is to a startup

Every second, three new startups launch in the world. Sounds crazy, but those are the stats. Mathematically speaking, that’s about 11,000 per hour or 259,200 per day.

Is there such a thing as too many startups? Perhaps it has to do with the characteristics of Millennials. They are not attracted to the traditional corporate path and need an avenue to express their ideas and savor freedom. Millennials want to change the job environment and become job providers rather than job seekers.

Roughly 67% of Millennials said their career goal involves starting their own business.

However, launching a startup requires time, dedication, and a lot of capital, but unfortunately many don’t make it very far, even with those ingredients. Startups need money, unless they are remarkably lucky and the cash flows immediately from sales or patient investors. And if/when cash flow issues hit the startup, it can delay  important progress such as getting products out, hiring the right staff, and fitting new offices for growth.

Do you need an office to succeed in business, and what is the ideal office space for a startup? When you think of a new growing startup, you probably imagine an office with a handful of people, interacting through casual conversations, having creative brainstorming sessions and meetings. Even though this scene is quite a common association, many startups still underestimate or neglect the importance of their office space when building their business.

Having a physical office shows legitimacy and can help the startup earn respect and loyalty of their earliest employees and clients. It demonstrates that the company is serious about their business and it may even help in terms of recruiting the necessary talent so crucial for its success. Though norms have changed, and it has become more common to work remotely or from home, the benefits of not working from an office are often misconstrued.

Employees who work from home report that they feel less productive, with 19% of workers stating distractions such as TV, computer, and phone to be an issue, 18% claiming family and friends to be a distraction, and 16% saying that they feel less motivated due to loneliness. Some people say they are more productive in an office environment, and others feel they can maintain a better work-life balance when “work” and “life” are physically separated.

When it comes to the factors that influence the overall productivity in your startup, much research shows that one cannot neglect the importance of a suitable work environment.

For example, an independent study, carried out by the American Society of Interior Designers, revealed that physical workplace design is one of the most important factors that affect employee performance and satisfaction, and according to the Journal of Public Affairs, 31% of people who said they were satisfied with their jobs, also said they had a pleasant workplace environment, and 50% of those who were seeking jobs said they would prefer to work for a company with a pleasing physical environment. Finding a location can be tough enough, but furnishing it can become a real pain, as most companies end up in the chicken or egg problem: wanting to create a beautiful and unique environment, but not being able to spend the money. 

A third of small businesses get started with less than $5,000 and 58% get started with less than $25,000. In addition, 65% admitted to not being fully confident they had enough money to start a business at all.

Many startups prefer to lease their office furniture and equipment to save the cash up front, since purchasing furniture and equipment can be a very costly endeavor. Other companies furnish their office with poor-quality furniture, but investing in higher-quality products can actually save the company time and cost in the long run, as they avoid having to pay for the repair or replacement of poor quality or unsuitable furniture.

A company’s workspace needs room for growth and flexibility for change. It should pay attention to how people work and how the different areas of the office are used or not used. Do people flock to the sofas, or are they enjoying great discussions in the lunch area downstairs? Some may benefit from devoting less space for office desks and more to collaborative areas like meeting rooms and common areas.

Open-plan office spaces have been reported to cause problems for many companies, so it may be better to section off different areas, so that employees can have privacy while working. Startups can also consider creating a pleasant visitor area or lounge/reception room, so when existing or potential customers come to visit, it can give the right impression and make people comfortable.

Conference and meeting rooms are some of the most frequented rooms in the office, as they are where the important meetings and formal discussions take place. They set the scene for unfolding new ideas and solving complex problems, which is why these are some of the most  important rooms to get proper attention and should be set up with furniture and equipment that elevates focus and engagement.

Productivity is one of the most important things for the success of any business, and it is greatly influenced by the work environment. A gloomy and cluttered office can make people frustrated, distracted, and unmotivated, while an inviting environment can make people give that little extra. This is why startups in particular should pay special attention to their office, as employee productivity and satisfaction can be all-important for making or breaking the business.

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