Like most entrepreneurs, you’re likely starting out with limited financial resources so you have to make do with the workspace you have. As your business grows, building or leasing larger spaces can be crippling to your cash flow and disruptive to critical operations. Before you make the decision to move, it’s wise to make the most you possible can out of the space you have.
Here are some ways to maximize smaller workspaces.
1. Remove Clutter
You can make more space by clearing away the clutter. Consider the usefulness of every single item in your workspace. If there is something you don’t need, get rid of it. If it’s something you rarely use, put it somewhere else.
Consider using furniture that serves multiple needs, such as a group of low file cabinets supporting a work surface. Don’t use space-wasting furniture like massive file cabinets, no matter what kind of deal you get, if the space is better used for something else. Think minimalism.
2. Get Organized
Creating a clean space is crucial to efficiency when working at home or a small office. Having to maneuver around obstacles, or get up and look for the things you need, can be frustrating, stressful, and a waste of time. Store tools and materials out of the way, but right where they’ll be needed within easy reach. Label things if you have to, but find the optimal arrangement and stick with it.
Keep experimenting with new arrangements so you can be working smarter. Continuously search for ways to get the work done with minimal movement to conserve space. When all aspects of your work are performed easier and faster, it’s more enjoyable and more productive.
3. Maximize Storage
If your floor space is crowded but your overhead space is relatively clear, it’s time to think about vertical organization. Get some tall racks or shelving that provide both additional storage space. Shelves built above work tables along each wall can increase both storage and work space.
Consider getting uniformly-sized stacking storage cubicles or shelves so that you can expand as you go. Don’t overlook using every bit of floor space outside of traffic areas. Find trays or boxes that will fit in the available space.
4. Set up Zones
If you have several important functions that have to be done regularly, assign a space to each function in the workflow. Everything from printing up documents to packing boxes should be assigned its own adequate space and organized within that space. Determine the minimal amount of room needed to accomplish each task and try to make it fit with as few adjustments as possible.
5. Upgrade When Possible
If you have clunky old equipment, consider updating it. Newer electronics tends to be more compact, more feature-rich, and more energy efficient than older equipment. There are more practical designs in newer office furniture as well, such as height-adjustable desks, expanding work surfaces, and fold-away tables and chairs.
Do you really need a spacious desk when you only require room to set down your laptop? Consider Wi-Fi routers to eliminate cables. Bright, versatile overhead illumination from track lighting could eliminate the need for desk and floor lamps. A few scattered waste baskets could save room over one large trash bin.
Smaller workspaces have their advantages. Communication with employees or partners is easier. The smaller space can even be cozy and intimate to develop better relationships and adjust to each other’s behavior. Smaller spaces cost less, use less energy, and are easier to keep clean.
If you can find ways to make that smaller space work for you, you’ve got savings and operational advantages over managing a needlessly large space. Eventually your business will grow. But you don’t want to be paying for that until you have to.