Is it time for startups to just forget about offices and go remote? The last year has shown us that office work really isn't all it's built up to be. The benefits of having an office seem almost non-existent in a lot of cases, while remote working presents a series of great advantages.
Speaking of which, here are four reasons start-ups should ditch the old office life:
The cost of remote work is tiny compared to the cost of working in an office. This is because you don't have to pay any rental costs, not to mention footing the bill on the energy. All you have to worry about are your own personal costs of working at home, which will be virtually non-existent. Factor in the lack of office maintenance costs as well, and you can see why it is cheaper.
Fewer health & safety issues
As a business owner, there's nothing more worrying than health & safety concerns. Firstly, you spend a lot of money kitting your office out with things like fire curtains, fire extinguishers, slip n fall signs, other safety signs, and so on. These all link back to the first point about remote work being cheaper, but you also have the benefit of not dealing with these safety issues. So, there's no chance of an employee slipping and falling over in the office, where they can then sue you for compensation. Working from home eliminates these risks.
Your employees all get to design their ultimate work environment when they're not in an office. For some, this means setting up a little area at home where they feel comfortable and can work in peace and quiet. For others, it could mean going to a local coffee shop and working there. The point is that different people find productivity in different ways. Office life restricts everyone to the same routine and strict way of working. It's not always productive for everyone, while remote working gives your employees a choice!
Flexible working hours
Building on the previous point, remote work gives you the ability to allow flexible working hours in your startup. Instead of strictly doing the classic 9-5 office shift, employees could work at times that suit them best. Of course, it all depends on when your business needs to be productive - if you run a company that has to be active during 9-5, then people need to follow that shift. However, a startup has a chance to tap into more foreign markets if it works remotely. Flexible hours mean you could work on US time or Asian time to do business with people or companies over there. Thus, you broaden your horizons, get clients from all over the world and can be a success.
When you think about it, you really wonder why a company would want to work in the office anymore. Hasn't it basically been proven that offices aren't necessary?! There are some caveats here and there depending on the business, but a lot of startups can benefit from leaving the office behind and switching to remote work.
One thing that all business owners need to do is take check of what is happening in their offices. If you do not keep a check on everything, you will find that things can start to get a bit stale and get out of hand. This is the last thing that you want. You want to keep motivation levels high and the vibe positive. So, what are some of the different things that you can do to improve your office today?
Get rid of clutter - The first tip that we have for you when it comes to enhancing your office is to get rid of clutter. If you feel like your offices are never today, this is going to have a number of negative effects. Not only will it mean that it is difficult for workers to find the things that they need, but it can have a negative impact on their mental state as well. This is why we recommend looking for a company offering cheaper bin hire and get started with de-cluttering the space.
An office renovation can be an exciting time for you and your staff. It can signal a shift into a new era for the business and will often come during a period of success for the business when you have a bit of extra cash to splash on the necessary expenses. That’s not to say it’s all sunshine and rainbows though and without proper planning it could cause more harm than good. Read these points below to help avoid the pitfalls that may come with an office renovation.
Plan With Your Employees’ Needs In Mind
We’ve all seen the flashy job adverts that boast about the office’s beanbags, air hockey table, coffee machines and more… They look great in the advert but, in reality, how often are they used by the employees themselves? Were they something the workers wanted or was it instead just done with the company Instagram in mind? A perfect place to start to begin to discover and learn just what is available out there for your employees, is officemonster.co.uk/office-furniture, who have been helping offices around the UK since 2017.
Employee-first design will do wonders for office morale and productivity. It can also help your employees feel their needs are really being heard. Perhaps the budget for a flashy TV could instead be spent on some comfortable chairs or standing desks. Demonstrably planning with your team in mind can help alleviate some of the stresses of the working environment keeping your team happier overall. You can also use this opportunity to plan around individual worker’s specific needs.
Think About Minimising Disruption
Goodwill towards the renovation can be used up quickly if the works mean your staff are unable to do their daily tasks to the best of their ability. Think about if they’re going to need to take client calls while the power tools are whirring away next to them. It’ll be a pain for your team AND your customers if works cause disruption.
With the recent successes of work from home programs during lockdown perhaps you could consider having the whole office work from home for a week while the decorators blitz the office. One extra week of working from home could save the hassle of three weeks working around contractors if you’re planning a more thorough renovation.
Making sure you have your bases covered with the likes of Cheaper Bin Hire will ensure you can speed through works quickly and that there won’t be an unsightly mess left around the office for days or even weeks. No one wants to work in an office that looks like a bombsite and getting a skip in from the start will help avoid this. Perhaps it’d be a good chance to ditch the horrifying crockery and cutlery from the office kitsch too?
Design With The Future In Mind
This doesn’t just apply to the design trends you opt for but rather it applies more fundamentally to the choices you make for the renovation.
Do you anticipate your client base doubling, tripling, or even more in the coming years? Make sure the redesign allows your team and your facilities space to breathe. You might regret not opting for the second meeting room in a year’s time if you suddenly don’t have room to host multiple client meetings at the same time.
Perhaps you’re instead moving away from in-person pitches to online-only meetings? In that case a series of smaller rooms allowing each member of staff some peace and quiet for their calls could be the perfect choice.
A renovation is also the perfect time to embrace more sustainable changes for your office - you can read more about some ideas for those here.
Whatever decisions you make they should be made with a growth mindset at the forefront. Growth for your business, for your staff, and for your customers. A short-sighted redevelopment will only cause problems both in the short term and in a year or two when you need to tear everything down to start again.
Many business owners are thinking about the ways they can make running the business more sustainable, less wasteful, and better for the environment. However, for many, the problem still lies in energy consumption above all else. What are the changes, little and large, that can make your office more energy efficient?
Say goodbye to paper
There are some records that should be kept in paper forms, such as financial accounts and any documents relating to the legal formation of the business. Otherwise, however, it’s becoming easier and easier to go entirely paperless. Not only does it cut on paper waste, but you don’t have to pay as many printing costs (for the printers themselves as well as the ink and repairs), and you don’t need to use as much space in the office to store papers.
Take care of your big appliances
When it comes to any means of heating, air conditioning, and ventilation, then it is essential that you routinely hire professionals to take care of them. With maintenance of air source heat pumps, you are not only potentially saving money down the line by preventing breakages. You are ensuring that the appliances that heat the entire workspace are working more efficiently, thereby allowing them to heat up or cool down the office while consuming less energy.
Going green with your energy
You can make sure that your appliances are working as efficiently as possible is one thing. But one of the biggest changes you can make is to change where your energy comes from in the first place. Not every location is going to benefit as much from the installation of solar panels, so it’s important to do your research and find out how much energy you’re likely to get with such installations before you make that decision.
Choosing eco-friendly partners
How you manage the energy efficiency of your business isn’t just about how you operate. It’s also about who you partner with. Finding reliable suppliers and service providers is crucial. While it perhaps shouldn’t outshine their performance and cost-effectiveness, it might be worth considering what eco-friendly operational methods your suppliers and partners undertake. It might be worth paying a little extra for a supplier that uses recyclable packaging for instance.
Beware of vampire energy
It might sound like a relatively small tip in comparison, but turning off all lights and electronics when a room is not in use can make a big difference to your energy bills over time. Even leaving computers in standby can be more wasteful than you might imagine. Make it a policy to ensure that appliances are turned off at the wall unless you know for a fact that you’re coming back to use them very soon and never leave lights on in an empty room.
Energy efficiency might seem like a conundrum, but if you’re making the changes effectively, then you can end up saving the costs of the investment in terms of energy saved. It always pays to look out for government schemes to help install energy-efficient measures with a discount or part of the costs covered, as well.
For your business to thrive, your office space must be a hub of creativity and hard work. The problem is, it’s impossible to achieve greatness without the right environment! If you want productivity levels to soar, think about how you might improve the functionality and design of your office. In many cases, improving your office is rather a case of health and safety.
1. Consider lighting
According to a study in PR Newswire, ‘workers in daylit office environments reported an 84 percent drop in symptoms of eyestrain, headaches and blurred vision.’ The study concluded that improving natural light in an office environment resulted in improved productivity and wellness levels.
To improve your office environment, it’s advisable to optimize natural light as much as possible. Perhaps your office doesn’t get much sunlight during the day? In this case, daylight bulbs or full-spectrum daylight bulbs are a worthwhile investment. Daylight bulbs are designed to mimic natural night, while full-spectrum bulbs are often used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder.
2. Create more space
The coronavirus pandemic means that social distancing is now a necessity. To improve your office design in a post-COVID world, you need to create more space. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but here are a few viable options!
Declutter to make room: Start by decluttering your office, get rid of any items you don’t need. Whether you sell things or donate them, you’d be surprised how much space you have after a clear out. When you are disposing of your items, ensure that you recycle as much as possible. With a little more floor space, you’ll be able to create more distance between your staff workstations.
Invest in a storage solution: Another option is to invest in a storage solution. There are plenty of storage containers you can hire at affordable prices. By using a storage solution, you’ll free up space on site, and you won’t need to get rid of anything.
3. Ergonomic seating
Modern office designs simply must involve ergonomic seating; it’s essential to keep your staff safe and healthy as they work. Ergonomic chairs support the spine and prevent injuries. While you’re at it, it’s also a good idea to purchase ergonomic keyboards. These keyboards help the user to place their hands in a natural position; this means less straining and less chance of typing related ailments.
4. Quality renovations
Working conditions have a direct impact on the productivity of your staff. Staff are far more likely to produce creative work in an attractive and comfortable environment. With this in mind, consider whether your office space is in need of a renovation? When you are choosing your contractors, it’s essential to choose a quality service. Many businesses prefer companies who prioritize sustainable building methods and materials. For a quality ceiling renovation, rockfon.co.uk have plenty of great options.
5. Consider color schemes
The colors that we are surrounded by influence our mood, emotions and energy levels. Due to this, it’s important to choose the right colors when designing an office space. For a few ideas to get you started, consider these options:
Blue: Blue is generally seen as an ‘intellectual’ color. It is often associated with communication, logic and trust. All of these associations make blue the perfect color for an office environment.
Yellow: Yellow represents positivity, creativity and energy. We need all of these things to create a productive office, (so get painting those walls yellow)!
6. Apps to support your design
Need a little help to get your design ideas flowing? Several apps can help you there!
Room Sketcher: RoomSketcher is a floor planning and design app, perfect for helping you plan out your office. Using this application, you can make 3D floor plans and virtually decorate your office. RoomSketcher is ideal if you want to try out a few design ideas before making any purchases.
Planner 5D: Planner 5D is another top floor plan tool, here you can create any type of interior layout you wish. Whether you want to create a 2D or 3D plan, planner 5D has the tools you need. It’s simple to create realistic images and play around with texture and lighting.
Hopefully, a few of these ideas will be easy to implement at your office. You might find that it takes a little time to redesign your office to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions. If your staff are still working from home, now is the perfect time to get those renovations sorted before they return!
Running a business is hard work. Many entrepreneurs or small business owners find themselves wearing many hats. They spend so much time working in their business they never get the opportunity to work on their business.
Using automation intelligently can not only improve your business processes, but it also frees people up to work on core business priorities. A study in the UK showed that business owners spend up to a third of their time on business admin.
Automation can be used in most areas of a business, but here are a few of the main ones that will make the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time.
HR & Payroll Systems
Even businesses with only a few employees have a number of legal and financial obligations to their employees. There are a number of great cloud hr systems coming onto the market which can run your day to day recruitment, HR and payroll services. These are cloud-based so won’t need to invest in any IT or data storage systems.
They’ll save you time, money and make sure that you stay legally compliant. Employees can update their personal details, access policies, request holiday or communicate feedback all directly through an online platform.
Running payroll through one of these systems can save your money on accountants and still let your remain compliant with the government tax systems and online banking facilities.
An efficient, well-organised team can do wonders. Rather than relying on emails and handwritten scribbles, why not run all of your tasks and projects through specialist software like Asana or Trello.
These programmes both have free versions that you can use to set up recurring tasks to keep your team and your business on track. The amount of time saved on unnecessary meetings or emails will transform your business.
A great deal of your marketing funnel can be automated through software such as Hubspot or Zoho. Once you’ve set up your campaign materials, you can rely on your software to push prospective clients through your marketing funnel without the need to manually trigger actions every step of the way.
Content, email and even social media content curation can all be automated in line with your campaign goals.
A well-designed chatbot on your website can drive enquiries through without you needing to speak to people.
The good news for small businesses is that you don’t need huge huge budgets to begin automating your business. Most of the larger software companies offer a freemium model, allowing you to access a range of features for free in the hopes that once you expand, you’ll move directly to the paid version.
Automating processes in our business can save you time, money and allow you to spend your precious time on actually running your business.
Increased productivity leads to better margins and an improved bottom line. Not adopting an agile approach to your business can lose you that competitive edge if your competitors do embrace automation.
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