How to Build the Right Office for Your Startup
A word of caution: Don't build an office to impress investors
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For an entrepreneur, a milestone achievement is watching their name go up on the board at their very own office space. Built of blood and sweat, the office is more often than not his/ her second home, if not the first. For the founder as well as the employees, this is where they take the most crucial decisions for their company and build a working family together.
In a day and age where even corporates are moving to the open office culture to be more like a start-up, entrepreneurs treat their office space as a matter of pride. Therefore, it is essential for start-ups to have the right kind of office.
Entrepreneur India spoke to interior designers about a few pointers an entrepreneur should keep in mind before placing that first brick of his/her office.
A Mobile Office
Haven't we all heard stories about the most successful entrepreneurs today, starting their journey out of a one-bedroom apartment or a garage? Well, that states that for most entrepreneurs, when they are starting up, they don't know where they are headed. The one-room rented apartment might soon seem inadequate and require renting the whole house and if luck runs out, then shut down altogether.
Raajsree Ram Siddamsetty, an architect and interior designer, believes that entrepreneurs are very mobile. So, it's important for them to have a flexible office space that can be changed as and when necessary. "In the beginning, the staff strength is also vague. They could start with a few members and soon have a lot of people working in their company. So, the space should be built in a way that more workstations can be accommodated easily," said Siddamsetty.
Tarun Singh, of The Design Republic agrees with Siddamsetty. "Space management is crucial for entrepreneurs. Make sure your office space doesn't make your employees feel cramped," he said.
Plan the Space Well
Start-ups just taking off usually have a low budget when it comes to the office. However for them too, architect and interior designer Pavan S. Dev advises a good reception to ensure a warm welcome. "They should look at having huddle rooms (small meeting rooms) inside their office space and the departments should be placed in close vicinity so that it eases communication," he said.
For established start-ups, Dev maintains that a larger reception space with a huddle room outside before you enter the main work area should work. "That way you aren't disturbing your employees by having regular visitors," he said.
For start-ups, Singh says having a quirky meeting room along with a semi-meeting room which can be a collaboration space adorning cushions or funky furniture is a good idea. Move on from having canteens to having cafes which are self-service, he suggests.
Don't Build an Office to Impress Investors
A swanky office will get you attention, but it's not going to get you the money. For an entrepreneur who's just starting up, Siddamsetty advice is to not splurge on interiors. "You don't have to build an office to impress the investors, your work should do that for you," he said.