There’s a lot that goes into running a business successfully. Your staff, financial status, and customer base all play a role in your company’s sustainability. However, another major determiner is how you manage growth. Part of this is making sure that you have the physical space available in which to do it.
How much room is right?
According to Austin Tenant Advisors, the average office space for a group of 40 should be between 5,000 square feet and 7,000 square feet. This equates to approximately 125 to 175 square feet per person. To put that in perspective, it’s about the size of the average bedroom. Anything less than that will result in crowding, disorganization, and lowered productivity.
Your office space does not include solely a work area. That number also takes into account common spaces, such as a reception area, conference room, bathrooms, mailroom, storage room, and corridors, the latter of which accounts for up to 35 percent of your total footprint.
When the time is right
Your business will tell you when it’s time to expand. You may experience issues that go beyond the office, including too few parking spots, which can hurt your business, and not having enough room to store inventory. If you’re experiencing growing pains that are thwarting growth, that’s a good sign it’s time to increase your physical presence. Kisi, a company that specializes in commercial keyless entry for high-traffic facilities, asserts that you should also consider any possible future expansions at this stage.
When it comes time to expand, you are not limited to relocating. If possible, it may even be in your best interest to stay put and utilize your current land. This will keep you from uprooting your entire organization and creating a possible disruption that would affect your customer base.
One solution is to build an additional freestanding structure to use as office space. You could also use the new addition as a warehousing area and remodel your current building to accommodate more bodies. The two primary building materials used when erecting a new building are wood and steel. Each has pros and cons. For example, wooden buildings are easier to fully customize, but are prone to insect infestation and rot. Steel structures don’t attract pests and can be put up much more quickly, since many components are prefabricated in a controlled setting.
DoItYourself.com goes into greater detail on the benefits and drawbacks of wood versus metal construction in this post. Historically, metal buildings have been very “cookie-cutter” in appearance, but many manufacturers now offer additions, such as wainscoting, that can drastically enhance the building’s visual appeal.
If you only need a small addition, you can save money by adding to your pre-existing structure. Look for a contractor that services your local area and comes recommended by other business owners. You can check ratings and reviews on Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, or the Better Business Bureau’s website. Once you have a short list of potential contractors, meet with each individually to discuss your project, gauge their knowledge, and answer any questions they may have prior to giving you a detailed estimate.
When cash flow is low
Finally, if you don’t have the capital or credit to responsibly finance more space, you will need to reevaluate the efficiency of your current office design. If you have underutilized rooms or common areas, add cubicles and/or partitions to give each person a dedicated workspace until you can afford a permanent solution.
The possibility of expanding any business is an exciting one, but before you rush to change locations, you must consider whether that’s in the best interest of your company, staff, and clients. Sometimes, a simple addition is all you need to achieve the growth you’ve worked so hard to put in motion.