Any office can get leaner. When it does, it can result in cost savings and put a company in a better position to handle growth. (The latter is critical for startups; nearly a third say it’s among their top three challenges.) Here are few places to start.
Allocate space based on work, not position. In 2010, 80% of an individual’s output depended on working in a group. So instead of giving managers, who are often out of the office, private offices, turn those offices into casual spaces for collaboration. Call them hives or caves or nooks—anything that conveys their purpose—and add casual furniture. Then ask executives to use those spaces so people will know it’s allowed. People need to know they’ll be perceived as working, rather than just hanging out, when they are in those spaces.
Revisit the idea that every person needs a desk. Few employees need a workstation all day, every day, so consider bumping up the ratio of people to desks. Herman Miller helps companies determine how much space they need. One company wanted to encourage worker mobility. If the company used the sharing model—three occupants per space—it could potentially triple the head count in the same space, a 200 percent increase. This model could save nearly $890,000 per year in rent and operating costs.
Invest in quality. It’s tempting to cut costs, but cheap furniture breaks and, at the very least, needs to be replaced, disrupting business. Worse by far is the possibility that a worker will get injured. When trying to discern a product’s quality, look for the warranty. Here’s ours. It’s a sure sign of the company’s confidence in the quality of their products.