Ann Arbor office space

5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Current Office Space

Oxford Companies Articles

Before you move, consider these options to improve your office space.

How do you feel about your current office space? If you’ve been there a while, it’s likely that you’ve built up a laundry list of unsatisfactory features, from the poor lighting to the bad floor plan. Maybe your lease is coming up and you’re on the fence about renewing. Or maybe you have a few more years to go, and you’re not sure if you can make it to the end.

If your space makes you feel desperate, you have options. Here are five ways you can get more out of your office space without breaking the bank. Who knows—you may even be ready to stay for longer.

1. Re-arrange the furniture.

The simplest way to make more of your space is to rethink your furniture layout. This isn’t just about fitting in more desks; it’s also about creating a comfortable environment. If your office seems too noisy and distracting, consider using a set of open-backed bookshelves to help divide the space.

Do you have a reception area that doesn’t see much use? Why not turn it into a collaborative work space instead? What about a meeting room you barley use? It might make a quiet work space for employees who get distracted by too much office chatter.

2. Redecorate

Colors and furnishings have a big impact on how we view a space. Unfortunately, the standard for many offices not so long ago was to avoid bold color choices that might have been distracting. In opting for neutral, many office spaces became dull and monotonous.

But in the age of Instagram, most businesses are eager to show some personality in their office environment. This means color choices that are on-brand for the organization, and a cleaner, sleeker aesthetic overall.

Lighting can also help. Artificial, fluorescent lighting can lead to fatigue and headaches for your employees. Try organizing your office to bring in more natural light if possible, and replace fluorescent fixtures with bulbs that offer the full spectrum of natural light.

3. Remodel

When a new coat of paint won’t cut it, it may be time to knock down (or put up) some walls. Businesses often have more leeway in their ability to re-do the interior of their office space than they realize. They think that a wall is a wall, and that tearing it down or moving it will be beyond what they can manage.

However, a remodel that improves the floorplan and traffic flow of an office can have a significant impact on productivity. Whether that means combining space for more room or separating them for more privacy, adding or removing a wall can go a long way toward improving your office environment.

Don’t forget the flooring. While it may be more of a hassle to remove and replace, tearing up the old, dark carpeting and putting in an engineered hardwood can make your space feel more clean and open. It can even help cut down on allergy symptoms for employees who are sensitive to dust and mold.

4. Use plants effectively

Greenery can help bring color to an office space and make it feel more inviting. You can also use them to break up space or add a small privacy screen without blocking too much light. Plus, the most popular house plants are low maintenance. So long as you can remember to give them water once a week, they’ll thrive for years.

Indoor plants don’t just bring a little greenery into the office—they also improve air quality and can reduce illness in your office. According to a study by NASA, several common varieties of houseplants can efficiently remove chemical pollutants from the air, particularly one that leach out of synthetic materials over time, such as benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene.

The most effective plants tent to be broad-leaf varieties, such as English ivy, Boston fern, sider plants, and peace lilies. Or, for something a little taller, try a bamboo palm.

5. Consider flex time and remote work

Sometimes you like everything about your office but its size. The location is perfect, the natural lighting helps you feel relaxed and productive, the space is colorful and inviting… it’s just too small.

Depending on your total square footage, you can re-arrange work stations to be more compact, but this comes with its own disadvantages: employees feel crowded, the atmosphere becomes too noisy and productivity could suffer. Instead, you could try a solution that combines remote work and flex time to reduce the number of employees in the office at any given time.

With such a policy, you may have to do away with some of your assigned office space. Employees who only come in two or three days a week should share desk space with those who are in on the day’s they’re not. Desk spaces won’t be as personalized, but that may have the bonus effect of cutting down on on office clutter. And an employee who can work from home two days a week may not mind a floating work station as much as one who is at their desk from 9-5 all week long.

Know when it’s time to move

Most of these solutions are only temporary fixes. A new coat of paint won’t cover the disruptive office next door, and an array of house plants won’t make up for terrible lighting. But they can help you get through the last year or two of your lease until you’re ready to change spaces.

When you are ready to move, contact Oxford Companies. We can help you find a space that meets your wish list criteria, and we can talk with you about your growth plan to make sure your new location matches your projected expansion for the duration of your lease. Contact us today.