A Guide for Creating a Comfortable Space at Your Startup
By | Rayanne Morriss
Your startup is all about ideas and moving quickly. As you work to allow the free flow of ideas, you will need a workspace that invites in both employees and potential clients. You will also need a flexible workspace that offers creative options for your employees and comfortable conference rooms for clients to meet in privacy.
Allow Employees to Customize
Your employees will be working hard and some may be working more for future gains than for current wages. Don’t ask them to work in a greige box. Instead, create spaces for customization. Install tracks in the ceiling and hang panels that can be
- moved to create new workspaces
- used to hide a creatively messy workspace
- modified to hold a bulletin board or whiteboard panel
Shared workspaces and startup locations need to function well for many different workers, but supporting workers as people will help you keep the best employees out there.
Offer a Small and a Large Conference Room
A large conference room is a terrific spot for a big presentation, but a small conference room is ideal for contract signings, payouts, and other more personal exchanges. If clients have to wait for a conference, a large room can be daunting.
If your start-up is looking for more investors, group presentations can be a good start, but you need private meetings to make the final sale. That private conference room is your place to add personal touches. Celebrate your employees professional successes with images of awards. In your large conference room, consider creating a visual display of your future plans, such as framed renderings of your next big project.
Keep Air Fresh and Moving
Your startup office space may be bright, open and sunny. This is a great way to maintain high energy. You may also want to improve the air conditioning if your space has a lot of windows that allow heat build-up. As you can customize the space, add fans to keep air moving. Add vaporizers to release gentle fragrances to stimulate those creative juices, from citrus to peppermint. If your industry is paper-intensive, try putting up temporary divider screens to protect scratch papers and idea lists from getting blown around.
Create Quiet Spaces
Some workers draw energy from a busy, active workspace. Others do better with a bit of privacy and quiet. All employees need a private space where they can take a phone call or video chat with a loved one. Create a quiet space with a comfortable chair, a place to plug in a charger, and a window. If you need to put up a sign-up sheet for folks who want to work in a quiet space, make sure you also have another private spot for personal calls, especially in an open office.
Stock the Break Room
Make sure your clients and employees have access to hot beverages, water and soda. If you love coffee, stock great coffee options. If you don’t know anything about tea, let the employee who loves tea choose what to purchase. Whether you get a pod machine or a quality coffee maker, be aware that everyone has a favorite coffee option. Consider taking a poll to get the best for your team.
Cold beverages will need a quality cooler. Unless your office is very small, invest in a cold beverage refrigerator as well as a shared refrigerator. If your admin is in charge of loading the cold beverage machine, make sure they
- are allowed the time to do this on a regular schedule
- offer help hauling the beverages
- sign up with a delivery service
Shared refrigerators can be problematic. If you have employees who tend to bring in food and abandon it, someone will have to empty the refrigerator or at least check for biology experiments on a regular basis. Again, make sure that the people in charge of this job have the time and resources to do the work.
Life is all about relationships. Your employees and your clients and potential investors need to know that their time, talent and treasure are going to be used with care and focus. Create a space that is invigorating, inviting and enjoyable to be in.