Opening an office is often one of the first steps a business will make as it grows. This will give you the chance to hire permanent employees, open your doors to clients and customers, and separate your work and home life for a better balance. Of course, though, this process can often cost a small fortune when the right action isn’t taken. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring the process of going from an empty space to a fully-fledged office while spending as little as possible.
The Empty Space
The first stage in a process like this is always going to involve finding a suitable office space for your work. This can be tricky, as you have to follow certain rules as an employer, and this will mean that you will need to have a building that can provide the right facilities for your staff. A place to work, prepare food, and use the toilet will be essential, though many offices have additional features like showers and break rooms.
Finding affordable office space will be much easier if you talk to a professional real estate agent. While this sort of service will come with some fees, they will be able to help you to find suitable buildings that will work for the size of your team. Going for something smaller will save money now, but may force you to move in the near future if you have to expand your team. Alongside this, the location you choose for your business can make a huge difference when it comes to the cost of your office, with some companies going as far as using residential homes for their workplace needs.
Furniture & Decor
Once you have a building in order, it will be time to start looking for furniture to fill it up with. This doesn’t have to cost a small fortune if you’re willing to look at secondhand options, and there are loads of sites that make it easy for you to get your hands on pieces for a fraction of their retail cost. When places like schools, other large offices, and retail stores renovate or get closed down, they will often have large sales of all of their old furniture. This can make it possible to get high-quality desks, chairs, and other pieces for very little.
Alongside the furniture, it will also be smart to think about the decor in your office. You can get this handled extremely inexpensively if you’re willing to do some of the painting yourself. It could be worth getting help if you need to replace carpets or other floorings, but painting the walls can be done over the course of a few days. You just need to find some paint that matches your brand, some brushes, and a few old sheets to keep your nice floors safe.
Power & Heating
Your office building should already have suitable wiring and breakers for your needs, but you may need to talk to a utility company to make sure that you are getting a supply. Alongside this, it can also be worth looking to get a UPS to keep your computer systems up and running in the case of an outage. Heating will also be something you have to arrange for your office, with those in warmer climates probably looking for air conditioning, too. These sorts of services are getting cheaper all the time, but you may need to shop around the find the very best deals.
Internet & Networking
It’s common to find offices with large server rooms that are dedicated to handling the data that comes in and out of the business. This sort of setup can cost a small fortune to build and maintain, and most small businesses simply can’t afford to pay for it. Thankfully, cloud and managed IT services have made this much easier in recent years. All of your files, emails, and other data can be handled on someone else’s secure servers and this means that you’ll just need to have a good internet connection to keep up.
Your internet connection is something that you can’t really afford to skimp on. You won’t need to have any huge servers or expensive routers for a small business, but you need to make sure that you will have the bandwidth available to serve all of your team members. You will also need to make sure that your network is secure. This can be achieved through employee training, firewalls, and proper management of the computers being used within your business. As time goes on, internet connections are getting cheaper and cheaper.
Computers & Other Devices
Some companies expect their employees to bring their own computers to work, though this can cause security issues and leave some of your team members with machines that aren’t fit for the job. It’s always worth getting your own machines for this, but you don’t have to spend a small fortune if you go to the right place. Laptop rental companies can save you from having to buy your machines outright, offering a flexible way to enable you to upgrade and expand your network in the future.
Even when you’re using a service like this, it always makes sense to figure out what price point you should be aiming for. If your team only need their machines to browse the web, check emails, and create office documents, something in the low or mid-range will be good enough. If they need to handle tasks they use more power, though, you may need to look at slightly pricier machines. Giving your team their own phones isn’t essential and is probably too expensive if you’re working to a budget.
Alongside your computers, you’ll also need to get things like mice, keyboards, and monitors to make sure that everyone has a setup that they like. Much like your furniture, this sort of thing can be bought second-hand. This will save you loads of money, while also making it possible to get more than you need for the future. Cables, batteries, and other accessories can also come in handy when you have a lot of computers in your office. Printers and photocopiers are losing popularity as time goes by.
Going back to the rooms outside of the office itself, most workplaces like this will come with kitchens so that your team can make food. It’s important that you supply the right appliances for this, limiting the power your kitchen will use while providing your employees with enough to make good food. A microwave, toaster, and fridge-freezer will be essential, but you could also think about things like toasty makers if you’d like to give your team a treat. Renting vending machines can be a good way to provide food for your team, but this can be expensive.
Keeping your office stocked up can be one of the more expensive elements of the job. Many modern companies provide simply food and drinks for their team members, and this can be a good way to draw employees into your business. Toilet paper, soap, and other hygiene products are also essential, especially in 2020, and you need to make sure that you have plenty available to keep your team clean. There are loads of companies out there that make it easy to get your hands on bulk products at discount prices.
Setting It All Up
Getting your office set up is going to be a time-consuming process. You will need to figure out the best way to organize the space and may need to get some help from your employees to get the whole thing put together. Drawing a rough floorplan of your office and using this to plot your desks and other furniture will be a great way to get started. You can test different configurations, figuring out which ones might work for your team. You can get your team members involved with this, but it’s worth being aware that managers will often want to sit in positions that give them a good view of the whole office.
Once you have a floorplan ready, you can start putting the whole office together. It will be crucial that you do this with safety in mind, avoiding trip hazards or things that could hurt your employees if they’re not being careful. Most countries have their own rules for offices to follow when it comes to their layouts, and this is something you have to consider when you’re going through this process.
With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of building your office on a budget. This sort of process can take a little as a few weeks if you plan it well enough, giving you the chance to get started with your work as soon as possible. Of course, though, you will need to set your budget at the beginning, only choosing non-essential features when you’ve managed to tick everything else off of your list.