Getting ready to open your first office can be an exciting and challenging experience. You’ve found a great location and signed the papers to make it your own, and now it’s time to start moving in and getting people to work. Before you get started on that, though, you should make yourself aware of what to avoid when undertaking this new business experience. You don’t want to get your office up and running only to discover that you made a critical error in its layout, or that you underestimated the amount of work it would be. Avoid the following common pitfalls that new office managers encounter. Through your awareness of what not to do, you can be certain that your outlook for success in your new office is good.
Don’t Build a Cubicle Farm
Cubicles, once the staple of many an office around the world, are fading in popularity, and for good reason. While their original intent of reducing lost productivity due to employee distractions sounds good on paper, in practice it creates a work environment that isolates your personnel from one another in a detrimental way. Cubicles prevent employees from actively engaging one another throughout the workday to discuss their ideas and the projects you’ve assigned them to, which can stifle creativity and the generation of ideas that could be making your business more money. Instead of putting in that work order to get cubes installed in your new office, consider a desk layout that both emphasizes individual workstations while still facilitating an open flow of ideas. As an added benefit, if you have a lot windows in your office, not having cubicles means that natural light can reach all the way from one end of your office to the other. This creates a more inviting work setting, and will improve employee morale.
Don’t Think You Can Handle Administration All by Yourself
You’re motivated when it comes to doing what’s best for your business and seeking growth, and that can mean saving money wherever possible. However, don’t kid yourself when you’re opening your first office by thinking that you’ll save cash by assuming any number of clerical and administrative duties on your own. It can not only make you look like a micromanager to your staff, but it can also end up overwhelming you to the point where important paperwork gets lost or left unfinished. This could mean the difference between closing a deal and losing it, or missing an important invoice payment that undermines a project you’ve been working on for months. Under-staffing your new office is a fast track to having the stability of your business collapse when crunch time approaches. Instead, consider adding a position to your office such an administrative assistant, or even simply hire a secretary to help keep track of your own agenda.
Don’t Compromise on Equipment Quality
There’s an old adage that goes, "a craftsman is only as good as his tools." The same is going to be true for the employees of your new office, especially if your business is technology-based. While it can be especially tempting to cut corners when it comes to the cost of computer equipment and networking hardware such as servers, ask yourself if you will really be saving any money when those discounted computers inevitably fail and require replacements. Every business eventually encounters hardware failures, but don’t let it leave you in a position that financially jeopardizes your company. The higher initial cost of purchasing quality hardware will pay for itself in the long run. Buying cutting-edge technology isn’t necessary, but neither should you go straight to the computer store’s bargain bin. When you’re opening your new office, search around and see if there are companies that will give you a bulk discount on good-quality hardware to outfit your building with. Chances are you’ll be able to find an option that will strike a good balance between affordability and quality.