If you want to learn how to save space in a small office, use these tips which can be used to save space, even in the smallest of workspaces.
Use The Entire Space Including Common Areas
An idea that leading office designers are now building into workspaces is offering choice in a person’s workspace. Beyond the standard desk which people have traditionally been expected to work at for 40 hours a week, modern design practice is to encourage working in different places.
This theory stems from the fact that people’s minds operate in different ways depending on the time of day, their mood, the task at hand, their level of fatigue and what the person next to them is doing. When you look at it that simply, it’s a wonder that we (office makers and users) have been sticking rigidly to an open plan desk system for decades.
If your office is small, it’s likely that you won’t be able to have dedicated meeting rooms. Instead, have designated meeting spaces or tables that are also free to use when staff want to work on a task which needs more room or some peace and quiet. These can be placed in any common areas: reception, kitchen or the middle of the office floor.
Stand-Up Meeting Tables
On a similar theme, a space (and time) saver is the use of stand-up meeting tables. Originally scorned as just a fad, these are rapidly becoming a mainstream furniture choice. Morning briefings are already conducted stood up in order to enhance productivity and energy, but with stand-up meeting tables, a more formal meeting can be conducted too.
Similar to what you may find in a bar or waiting area of a restaurant, the process of using them is natural and familiar, but has the added benefit of naturally promoting productive discussion. It’s surprising how quickly problems and AOB can be sorted when everyone is standing.
Back to saving space rather than time; the footprint of the table and meeting attendees is much smaller when using a stand-up table. There is no need for chairs, obviously, and less printed information is needed because all persons can stand over the table and the documents. The table is smaller as a result and having no chairs reduces the size of table needed too.
Use Less Paper
Currently, the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper and 6,800 of these go to waste. Whether these sheets of paper end up in the rubbish bin, recycling bags or filed away; they’re taking up space in your small office.
It means less clutter on an individual’s desk and also reduces the wider need for storage furniture and accessories to store used papers and documents. The need for desk drawers and file storage is greatly reduced as electronic files are used instead for long term storage. Also, the need for printers is minimised as printing will only be in small volume. If a large batch of printing needs to be done (for an event or client meeting, for example) it can be outsourced.
Whenever possible, try to combine multiple uses and functions into as much of your furniture and accessories as possible. Every little helps here so you may need to make some sacrifices, but some areas can be compromised on easily.
For example, and if your workspace is rented, this is likely to be accounted for, if you have five or fewer employees in the office at any one time then only one secure toilet and washbasin are required.
If you have made the decision to become as paperless as possible, you can get rid of the big copy-print machine and replace it with an all-purpose printer-scanner. The quality will be fine for office printing and the latest designs use an impressively small amount of desk space.
Remove Clutter From Desks
And desk space is going to be at a premium in a small office. The need for this tip is amplified if you choose to install smaller individual desk space. If you do that, make sure there is a larger table on offer for times when employees need to spread out a little.
When it comes to individual desks, removing the clutter is important. And “clutter” covers everything that isn’t vital to completing work: spare pens in a mug, souvenirs, freebies from a supplier – they all need to go.
Smaller Work Stations – A Shared Large Table
As alluded to in the previous point, smaller individual working areas contribute to saving space across the whole office. If you can combine this practice with going paperless, the results can be outstanding. There is no point issuing paperless office requirements and installing stand-up meeting desks in common areas of the floor, to just undermine it all by having large (and largely empty) desks for people to work at.
When you use a smaller, more dynamic desk set up, make sure each staff member has access to adequate amounts of storage (away from the desk) and can work at a larger communal desk when they need more space.
Vertical Storage (Up and Down)
The walls above the height of screens and below the desk can all be utilised for storage purposes through creative shelving. Frequently used items can be stored at head height (when sat at the desk) and less-often needed materials can be kept on the other shelves. Just be sure not to overwhelm the light sources – particularly natural light, a great way to increase the apparent size of your office – and obstruct the vision lines around the office too much. Heading under the desks with shelving might be a better option.
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Rollout Extra Desk Space By Using A Pedestal
Completing each person’s desk with a roll out pedestal storage unit can keep clutter out of site and be an efficient way of temporarily increasing available desk space. Notes and other additional pieces can be placed on top of the pedestal but once they are no longer needed the drawer pedestal can be placed back under the desk.
Issuing each staff member with a two or three draw individual pedestal means they can keep their short and medium term files and documents contained within them and their desk remains clutter free. Anything that needs to be filed long term can be stored digitally or in paid archive storage.