In a perfect world, we’d all have a large office space overlooking Central Park. We would have a large desk for our computers and documents. We would have a swivel chair that we could recline when we need to rest for a bit. But in reality, we work in cramped cubicles and on chairs that hurt our backs. We barely have room for a mini-laptop. Our desk is cluttered with stacks of papers. There is almost no room for the proverbial coffee mug.
Open up Common Areas
Do you know that you can use commercial building stairs as a kind of pantry? Yes, you can open up the pantry area where your employees gather for lunch. Use instead the large mid-landing where the stairs start to bend. This is usually wasted space. Put a corner table, a coffeemaker, some mugs, and a couple of couches. That should be enough for your employees to unwind during their lunch break.
Consider an Open-floor Layout
Maybe it’s time to tear down those walls? Cubicles are nasty. They make a room feel stuffy and cramp. Ask your employees if they are willing to work in an open-floor layout. The good thing about this is that it creates more space and allows everyone to collaborate better. Those who need to work alone in private should have their own rooms at the back of the office. Although the rooms are not exclusive theirs, they should have that option when they don’t feel like working in the open space.
Get Rid of Things
Go through your cluttered and messy office. Start throwing away or donating things you no longer need. Do you need that large file cabinet? Go digital and start reducing paper clutter. Get rid of that file cabinet because it is bulky. It takes up a lot of space. Weed out the items that no one uses anymore. That ratty old sofa in the corner? Does anyone still sit on that? Let go of these things.
If you truly need to store documents and other stuff, why don’t you use the large vertical space above you? Hire a cabinet maker and let them build storage spaces on those empty walls. After that, create a filing system that will make it easy for everyone to find the files they need once these have been transferred in those cabinets.
Have you ever considered letting your employees work from home? They’ll love it. Those who don’t need to be working in the office should be allowed to work from wherever they want to. They’ll be more productive this way. They’ll also create more space for those who need that extra area.
Let the Light In
The office space can easily feel cramped because there is no natural light coming in. Whenever possible, open the windows and let the sunlight in. This will have such a profound effect on the office space. It will feel less dingy. Plus, this is good for everyone physically, emotionally, and mentally.
The rule of thumb is to keep everything organized. You can do everything design-wise, but if you let clutter pile up, the space will still look cramped and tiny. Make sure that everyone understands that maximizing the office space involves organizing their things.