Do you find it a constant battle to remain efficient at work - and do you seem to spend most of your day navigating around clutter rather than getting tasks done? There is no denying that being productive and organised in a small workplace can be a challenge. However, with a little bit of creative thinking and thoughtful planning, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to create a practical and user-friendly space. To help you make the most of your limited room, here are five space saving design ideas to try in your office.
- Multi-purpose furnishings
One of the easiest and most effective ways to maximise space is to take advantage of multi-purpose furniture. Without the luxury of lots of room, having large, bulky items will only stifle productivity and slow you down. Instead, opt for space efficient furnishings that have a dual purpose. For example, desks with built-in drawers and shelves can be used not just as a workstation, but also to store essential office items like folders, books and stationery. Likewise, extending your workstation with an under desk pedestal or side unit can give you yet more storage and act as a handy extra surface. Saving valuable square footage, these solutions ensure you won't have to invest in additional filing cabinets and other fittings that will eat into your floor space.
- Shared work environments
In previous years, office designs were characterised by banks of cubicles and separate private offices. Today, open plan settings and shared work environments are far more common and they are associated with a range of benefits, especially in compact workspaces. Rather than having individual offices and workstations, managers and their employees often sit side by side on the same work surface. Not only can this save space, but it can also boost collaboration and improve morale. In fact, research has shown that open plan, small scale environments can increase communication and foster a positive, social environment that promotes job satisfaction and knowledge sharing. It is also not uncommon today for group discussions and brainstorming sessions to be held in open spaces rather than in dedicated meeting rooms, with the aim of encouraging team spirit and reinforcing a sense of unity among colleagues. With that in mind, setting up a communal table in the middle of the room could be just as effective as having a dedicated boardroom when it comes to collaboration, and it takes up very little space.
If you want added flexibility, you can use room dividers and office screens. Whether you want to create a private booth for workers to focus on individual tasks, a temporary meeting spot or a casual break out area, these accessories could help.
- Vertical storage solutions
A messy and disorganised office can be a hotbed for stress and have a detrimental impact on your performance and quality of work. To keep a clear mind and stay productive throughout the day, your workspace needs to have plenty of storage solutions. When designing a small work area, it can help to think vertically. In other words, you should consider building up rather than out. Adding shelves and cabinets to unused wall space not only keeps all of your office supplies and equipment within easy reach, but it also turns redundant areas into useful ones. Adding high mounted storage can also make your room feel much taller as it draws the eye upwards. If you really want to exploit the square footage on offer, you may also want to consider using the space below worktops by installing low level shelving - and don’t forget about corners and awkward nooks too. If you are currently using the back of your chair to hang your coat and bag, adding hooks to walls or doors can provide you with some much needed additional storage.
- Flexible layouts
For a small office to be efficient, it needs to be versatile. Flexible office designs are becoming an increasingly appealing option for workplaces that are starved for space. If you don’t have the room for fixed furnishings and permanent fittings, consider using fold-away, portable office chairs and tables instead. This allows for quick and effortless furniture rearrangements and it helps to ensure you can use your workspace for a wide range of activities, including collaborative meetings, breaks and individual desk work. When not in use, the furniture can be simply stacked or stored away to give you more space. Modular chairs and tables are another option, as they can be moved into a number of configurations to suit the exact layout of your office, no matter how awkwardly shaped or cramped it is. These flexible furnishings can be especially useful for start up companies that need their office layout to adapt to their evolving needs.
- Creating the illusion of space
Sometimes, all it takes is some clever decorating tricks to open up a room and make it feel more spacious. For example, choosing neutral, light colours for your floors and walls can make even the smallest of offices feel open and airy by bouncing light around the place. As a general rule of thumb, try to avoid dark furnishings and decor as this can make the room feel closed in and dingy. Meanwhile, leaving a small gap between furnishings can help to give a greater sense of space and depth, and resist the temptation to cram in too many items of furniture as this will make your office appear smaller. Letting lots of natural light enter the room and hanging mirrors on the walls can also help to create the illusion of extra space.
You will be surprised by how much of a difference these design suggestions can make to a small office, so why not try some of them out in your own workplace? For more ideas on how to create an efficient and functional work environment, you can browse our site further and take a look at our range of space saving products. Our professional and friendly team members are also on hand to provide you with further information and guidance.