5 Reasons Businesses Should Favor Function Over Flash

Effective office spaces do not have to be as lavish as those seen in Hollywood productions to reflect your values.

learn more about Marty Fukuda

By Marty Fukuda


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Up until I graduated from college, much of what I associated a successful company with was what I saw in movies. On the big screen, high-powered executives always seemed to have immaculate corner offices overlooking a sprawling cityscape -- the epitome of the stereotypical master of the universe. Conference rooms were lavish with infinity edge meeting tables constructed of some rare exotic wood and chairs were covered in the finest Corinthian leather. Perhaps the modern version of this office has beer on tap, an American Ninja Warrior course and locally sourced food prepared daily in the employee cafeteria.

I do believe that how you establish your culture and workplace should be up to you and what is true to your culture. If health and fitness are a key part of your team's lifestyles, then by all means put in a state-of-the-art gym. The office doesn't and shouldn't follow a one-size-fits-all formula. How you choose to fill in the space between the walls of your office is up to you. However, it's important to make sure it serves a function that represents your company and values. In fact, at our company we believe it's so important that this mantra is represented in our culture deck. Here are five reasons your business should favor function over flash.

1. Attract the right people for the right reasons.

We've all occasionally been guilty of judging a book by its cover. Take a look at a business and if it's headquartered in a high-rent section of town and decorated stylishly, we assume that company is flush with cash and headed in the right direction. Unfortunately, I've seen a few too many of those companies come and go to realize that what's under the hood doesn't always match the exterior. I understand and appreciate that there's a coolness factor to having a high-end office space. While the right people can still thrive and appreciate the photo-shoot-ready uptown digs, they also don't need them to be happy and productive. The right people are with you because they believe in the company, what it stands for and the direction it's headed. The difference I've found is that the wrong people are less committed to the core values and tend to place a greater emphasis on the "other" stuff that doesn't actually propel your business trajectory.

Related: Ready for a Legit Office Space? Think About These 4 Things Before Starting Your Search.

2. It helps establish the right long-term expectations.

A funny thing happens when your employees start working in an environment that emphasizes function over flash -- they don't miss the flash. In fact, they start to operate with that mindset in everything they do for the company. In other words, when they get promoted, they don't worry about where their office is or if someone has a better parking spot then they do. They spend company money like it is their own. Your whole team helps to keep the tradition.

3. No concern over "keeping up appearances."

If your company doesn't currently put a great deal of emphasis on having an impressive office space, then you don't need to worry about constantly keeping it cutting edge.

Yes, you provide a clean and productive place for your team to work. You make sure it's nice enough for the occasional client meeting. But you don't need to spend much thought on window dressing; just focus on what's going to make your team better. It's a small way of keeping the business simple that can make a big impact.

Related: Workplaces of the Future Will Feel More Like 'The Matrix' Than 'Office Space'

4. You have better things to spend your money on.

Most things that you spend money on as a business can fall into one of two broad categories: growth or maintenance. Ideally, as a business, you want to pour time and financial resources into growing your business, not just keeping it afloat. While a maintenance expense like additional office space may give you the ability to hire more and grow your business, an exorbitant set up likely will not increase revenue.

5. It will allow you to save for a rainy day.

Running a lean operation free of unnecessary frills allows you to allocate your finances not only toward growth, but it also can be applied to eliminating debt or building a stockpile of reserve funds. As the old adage goes, eventually it's going to rain, and you better be prepared.

Related: 5 Simple Rules to Follow When Looking for Office Space

While it's tempting to try to keep up with high-profile companies with their splashy offices straight out of a movie set, the companies that keep their priorities in the right places make the biggest leaps.

Marty Fukuda

Chief Operating Officer of N2 Publishing

Chicago native Marty Fukuda is the chief operating officer of N2 Publishing, overseeing operations at its corporate headquarters in Wilmington, N.C. He first joined the company as an area director in 2008 after working in the direct sales and print industries. 

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