Celebrating the people behind British small businesses

Meet Your New Office

By Lucy Stevens, Content Marketing Executive, Datify

It’s fair to say the office has had its fair share of changes in recent years, with many startups challenging office norms the office as we know it is being redefined and challenging traditionalists’ preconceptions.

With working from home in the UK at a record high of over 4 million, the office is no longer essential to get the job done, leading many to question what role the office plays in making a business successful and how the office can be used as an incentive to motivate employees.

Creating an office where creativity flourishes, teams are inspired and business is booming isn’t an easy feat, but your new office aims to do all that and more. From design and culture, to tech and connectivity, this is the office, but not as you know it.

Design Matters

If you take away everything else, at its core the office provides four walls in which we can get the job done. But the daily 9 to 5 grind can become tiresome if you’re forced to spend your day in a tired out box room, with little to inspire you. Workplaces should be inspirational, motivational, productive and promote employee wellbeing – a lengthy list but certainly one that’s achievable.

Offices should flow and allow movement throughout the day to help foster creativity and improve employee output. Whilst it may be necessary that we are in the office to get the work done, designated desks are no longer as common. Multi-purpose spaces can help to increase collaboration between employees and add flexibility to how we work.

Design in the workplace should reflect the different elements in office life – break areas, conference rooms, open spaces, lounge areas. The office isn’t just where we earn our keep, it’s where we learn, better ourselves, and create working relationships which all contribute to happy staff, and a happy, successful business.

Posture People know the importance of design when it comes to the office, “we have given all of our staff height adjustable standing desks, ergonomic chairs and accessories to make sure that they’re comfortable at work. We even made the decision to move to new offices within our seafront warehouse (with a BBQ and bar) to make work life just that little bit better.”

Hidden Messages

Whilst white washing walls is the décor of choice for many when it comes to their homes, white walls in an office don’t always have the same effect. The hidden messages in our offices mean you could be damaging your business more than you think simply through the colour of the walls.

Keep staff stimulated and use bright colours to lift the office mood, green and blue are both found to aid creativity and innovation respectively, just don’t go overboard as it could be headache inducing if you paint all four walls the same colour!

Daylight views and green spaces both help to create an architecture for happiness in the office. Potted plants in the office can help to decrease stress and improve performance, so pile in the texture and colour your staff will thank you for it.

Location, Location, Location

Location really does matter when it comes to your office, and whilst it naturally depends on the type of business you are running and its needs, the right postcode has a bigger impact on your business than you may think.

Whilst the right location can bump up the rental price, co-working spaces provide businesses with a scale up, scale down approach and grow as you grow. Plus, the sense of community they offer allows companies to collaborate and support one another, despite the fact their paths may never have crossed is they didn’t share an office.

Preistgate Business Centre is as the heart of Peterborough’s historic city centre and has seen the impact that shared offices can have on the community, “We’ve been home to a number of innovative companies taking advantage of our central location, and it’s provided them not only the chance to grow but to collaborate between the various companies based here, creating a peer-to-peer network.”

Creative Culture

Dull office culture and awkward small talk by the water cooler is a thing of the past, with startups paving the way for how to get culture right in the workplace. Establishing a positive office culture is essential for a productive workforce, and whether you’re new to business or not, revamping your efforts can go a long way in ensuring the office is one where employees truly want to be.

Work life balance is of increasing importance to employees and offices should help employees to achieve this, you don’t need to go all out Google style to create a culture which wows, but a little effort won’t go unnoticed by current employees or new talent.

Take little steps and provide health snacks in the office instead of the usual vending machines, break out areas that promote time away from desks and screens, games (PlayStations or table tennis are two popular options) and team days out all help to enforce that work doesn’t always mean you need to be tied to a desk.

Office Pantry deliver snacks, fruit and milk to companies, tailored to their staff, helping to make their workplace a happier one. “The big thing we help provide, culturally for startups, is that in-it-together spirit. By breaking bread, staff create a culture of sharing and togetherness. I’ve always seen startups as families, and as a family that eats together stays together, so too will companies and their employees” comments Giles Mitchell, co-founder of Office Pantry.

Make the office a place employees look forward to coming to, not just where they get their paycheck and you’ll not only see a more productive workforce but a happier business too.

Be Flexible

Staff are aware of what it takes to get the job done, so let them take the reins of their working hours and you’ll soon see that the trust you put in them will pay off. Don’t think that they’ll take it for granted either, as the likelihood is they’ll value you your trust and work hard to show you that flexible working hours are beneficial to them and the business.

Blossoming Gifts agree, “There is very much a feeling that we work to live, not live to work. We therefore offer flexibility in that you can come into work any time between 8am and 10am and work your respective hours.”

Likewise, let staff be flexible as to where they work from too whether that’s the office, at home or a café. Technology allows us to be connected however and wherever we like, and we don’t need to be in the office to get the work done.