Startup offices have a reputation for being quirky, unique, and open to fun and efficient ideas. From using repurposed furniture like the startup Quirky to going entirely off-road like the motorcycles at GitHub, running a startup gives you some design freedom, you wouldn’t have access to in a traditional office. But there’s more to setting up your startup workspace than grabbing quirky furniture and bright colors. So let’s look at what makes a good startup office and what kind of furniture you should look for to combine comfort and productivity with a quirky, innovative appeal.
Don’t Skip the Basics
If you are a child at heart, the idea of a bouncy ball chair and a rainbow circular desk may make your heart soar. However, after a couple of hours of balancing on a beach ball, you might remember why we don’t use balls as chairs all day. When planning your startup, you aim to combine your innate creativity and vision with practical office choices. This practicality doesn’t mean you need to ditch the fun colors and settle for the standard cubicle design we’ve all come to loath, but you should prioritize essentials over aesthetics.
An excellent example is making a list of what you and your team need to function as an office. This list includes how many chairs and tables you need, what kind of printer you want, and the optimal lighting for creative projects. Remember you’re going to spend at least 8 hours a day in this office (unless your company hours are flexible, of course), meaning comfort is essential.
Stand Up for Good Seating
Just because you need ergonomic desk chairs to fight off back pain doesn’t mean you need to shop for the same bland dentist office chair that’s been around since computer rooms were a thing in the 90s.
Thanks to modern innovation in office supplies, you can simultaneously get the best of supportive furniture and fun, inspiring decor. For example, the Embody Chair by Herman Miller is an office chair sure to turn heads without turning your spine the wrong way. This chair has the modern appeal of a startup office, with plenty of colors to match your business vibes, all while supporting your back while you work.
If your office includes visitor seating or a customer waiting area, ensure comfortable seating there. While you may think a monochrome bench looks great, your customers may complain about sore backs and be less likely to return.
Flexibility is Key
One of the best parts of a startup is the ability to set your own rules. Traditional office design is made to be one size fits most, without any consideration for employee needs. At a startup, you can take advantage of that freedom to design an office space that supports your workers. From customizable workspaces to accessibility-friendly offices, one of the best ways to set your startup apart is to prioritize the comfort of your customers and employees.
Another part of flexibility is knowing when to stick with your office theme versus when traditional is best. For example, you may think a tropical aesthetic is excellent for your vacation planning startup, but placing a palm tree in the restroom may have you rethinking your design choices. Try to balance practicality and professionalism with creating an innovative startup; your workspace will be all the more inviting for it.
Collaboration over Compartmentalization
One thing startups have over larger businesses is the ability to communicate between departments easily. While you may be tempted to give each department a separate area in your startup office, finding a way to bridge the gap between workplaces is essential for interdepartmental coordination and teamwork. Try creating a blended workplace that combines the needs of several departments in one area. By creating commonplaces accessible by the entire team, you encourage employees to work together and get to know other departments.
Once again, the downside of a modern office is the structured design that creates barriers between team members. Creating areas specifically for collaboration and discussion breaks down barriers and keeps open communication throughout the office. If your teams are separated by physical space and departments, try using Slack or another office communication program to support various groups in a shared virtual office.
Startup offices are there to inspire people. Whether you’re looking to inspire confidence in new investors, interest from new customers, or innovation from your employees, your startup office is the center of your business. Your office design should act as a home base for your business and have everything you need to grow your company. One way to increase your startup is to talk with your employees about what they want to see in their workspace.
Consider having a monthly meeting to discuss office needs and innovation that will cut down on disruptions and speed up production. For example, your design team may need a larger table for sample prep, while your marketing team may ask for interoffice “mailboxes” to easily distribute and receive physical documents. Be open to new suggestions and ideas, and work with your team to make your startup office truly one of a kind.
You can also ask your customers and clients what would improve your office design. For example, consider offering virtual meetings if your customers find parking outside your office hard to manage. If your clients find a meeting in the main common area too chaotic, invest in a private office to protect client confidentiality. Whatever your office needs, try to find creative, innovative solutions that set your business apart from the crowd.
Once you’ve designed your office, it’s time to get your startup out there. At BestStartups, we interview innovative startup leaders across the United States. We want to hear from you and learn about burgeoning businesses from New York to Hawaii and everywhere. In addition, our website showcases startup initiatives making waves in the professional world, so get ahead of the curve and schedule an interview with our incredible team today.