When you get over the difficult early days of running a business, find a firm foothold in the market and a client base you can rely on, you can start thinking about the future. One of the most exciting things business success grants you is the chance to move from a generic, hired office into one you can put your own stamp on. It’s worth taking the time to plan this perfectly: your premises will require a major investment and they can affect the culture and progress of your company. You can create an environment that will attract the talented staff that will help your business grow while impressing potential clients. Without proper planning, you may be pouring resources into an office space that fails to meet the needs of your business and your staff, and hamstrings you for years to come!
Creating a Design Concept
Your first step is to decide on an overall concept for your offices that will inform the rest of the decisions you and your designers take. Think about the qualities you want this space to foster: open spaces encourage creativity and collaboration, for example. For inspiration, try looking at the brands you admire and how they created their space. Lush and Calvin Klein, for example, worked with Hyphen Architects to create their retail and office spaces, and it’s worth looking at pictures to see how the values of the company are expressed in the materials and layout of the office.
When you have a concept to inform your plans, you can work with designers to turn those plans into a layout. Focus on the fundamental needs of your business at this stage: the capacity it will have to accommodate from day to day; the proportion of space you need to give over to meeting rooms; the need for shared casual space. Your designers can help to advise you here, as well as sensitively fitting the plans to the building they are working in. To return to a previous example, Lush’s offices use a lot of stripped back brickwork as a feature to highlight the building’s heritage:
When your plans are confirmed, you need to place them in the hands of builders and allow them to get to work. Typically, designers and architects will have firms they’ve established a relationship with over the course of many different projects and can recommend them for yours. It’s important to be informed about progress: set deadlines and ask for explanations when work falls behind. This allows you to manage expectations for your own workers and clients and have the easiest transition possible to your new premises!