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Why Some Small Businesses Have Better Workspaces Than Large Corporations, And How You Can Have One Too

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Why Some Small Businesses Have Better Workspaces Than Large Corporations, And How You Can Have One Too

As a workplace design consultant, I see office spaces in all shapes and sizes. And whenever I visit the office of a Small Business for the first time, I know I might be in for a disaster … or a real treat!

While some Small Business owners struggle to maintain a high quality work environment as more ‘urgent’ work demands take priority, others manage to create pretty spectacular workspaces for themselves and their teams.

I know the amount of time, cost and expertise involved in designing large state-of-the-art corporate offices, and the results are still variable. Even the most carefully designed offices can end up as unpleasant places that make getting work done a real challenge.

So whenever I meet a Small Business owner who beats the odds and creates a truly high-performance work environment on a tiny budget, I’m truly impressed.

How come Small Business owners with limited resources often make better decisions about office design than large teams of experts? As it turns out, when it comes to setting up your office space, you have some ‘unfair’ advantages over large organisations. So why not use them?

1. YOU DON’T NEED TO HACK THROUGH LAYERS OF BUREAUCRACY TO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN

You don’t need to present rational well-researched arguments to convince others about your choices. Instead of over-analysing things, you can make your decisions based on gut feel. And this is a good thing – even in this age when the words ‘evidence-based’ are seen as synonymous with ‘success guaranteed’.

The truth is that science doesn’t have all the answers when it comes to creating high-performance work environments. There is no proven formula, for example, for designing a space that makes people enthusiastic and energised.

Be comfortable listening to your instincts, and feel free to make those decisions that leaders of large organisations often avoid making because they ‘lack the evidence base’.

2. YOU KNOW EVERY PERSON IN YOUR OFFICE

You have personal connection with each of your team members, and I believe you genuinely care about them as human beings. These are key ingredients for creating good design, and actually make your intuition more accurate.

You understand your people’s personalities, what cheers them up, what upsets them, what distracts them, and so on. And even if you don’t know all of them very well (just yet), you can easily sit down with everyone and ask your questions.

When you’re planning some changes to your office environment, picture yourself and your team in the space you envision. Does it look and feel right? Does it allow your team to thrive?

Keep it simple, just as you do when you pick a venue to connect with friends, choose a holiday destination, or create a home for your family. Keep checking in, ‘is this the right kind of space to bring out the best in the people I care about?’ You’ll know the answer.

3. YOU CAN EASILY CHANGE THINGS AROUND AS YOU WISH

It’s nearly impossible to design a workspace where everything functions exactly as intended. People are complicated creatures, after all, so you can never be absolutely sure how they will respond to the new space.

In addition, things change fast in business. Team members come and go, new technologies are introduced, your services evolve … and along with these changes, the way you and your team work also evolves. This means that you’ll need to adjust your space from time to time to ensure that it gives you and your team the best support.

The good news is that in a small office implementing change is easy. You also have the luxury of making mistakes with your office design and then fixing them as you learn what works and what doesn’t.
Keep observing how things function, talking to your team about the space, and changing things around as needed. Feel free to experiment.

Engaging expert assistance to improve your office environment is still a good idea, but there’s a lot you can do by yourself. Whether you work alone on your office design or with a designer, remembering these common sense strategies will help you make better decisions.

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“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"



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Showing 4 comments
  • Nathan Kelly
    Reply

    Small biz rocks!

    Light, nimble and having the ability to move with the opportunity is a great way to be. I’m finding sharing office space great fun but sometimes a challenge to stay focused.

    Dam, instant gratification monkeys (waitbutwhy.com)- gotta keep em under control.

    Nice article Annetta!

  • Bronwyn Reid
    Reply

    Anetta this post made me really think about my own office,and step back and consider whether our office really does reflect our brand. Sometimes offices “just grow” as the company grows, without any plan, and things get fitted in wherever there is space.

    • Anetta Pizag
      Reply

      Organically growing office spaces are very common Bron, and it’s understandable. Responding to urgent business demands naturally takes higher priority than improving the work environment. But sometimes you need to take the time to ‘sharpen the sword’.

  • Amanda Fisher
    Reply

    You’ve certainly got me thinking – thinking that I need to re-jig my office around as the current set up is not serving me. Thank you Anetta for the inspiration to make changes.

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