Owners of small businesses and startups need to be able to get the most out of their resources. There is lots of advice out there about how to manage your time and money well, and both are very important resources, but it is also essential that you are able to manage your space well.
Startups and small businesses operating out of small office spaces suitable for a handful of people will not normally have a lot of extra room, and it can be easy to get bogged down under the clutter. Studies in neuroscience have demonstrated that there is only so much visual information that the human brain can process.
In practical terms, this means that it is much easier to focus on a computer screen surrounded by empty space than it is to focus on the same screen surrounded by stacks of documents or stock items. The bottom line is that managing your space well will have a positive impact on your efforts to manage employee productivity, and it is better for health and safety in the workplace too (piles of paperwork and boxes are an accident waiting to happen).
Managing excess stock
If your business is selling physical products, you need to have somewhere to put them. The problem is that the space needed for stock can very easily be much larger than the space needed for a small team of people, to such an extent that an office of the right size for your team is unlikely to be suitable for any stock that you have.
For most small businesses and startups with this problem, self-storage is a simple but effective storage solution. Self-storage facilities are common around the UK, and you essentially rent a container or room from them for as long as you need to, which is accessed via a key in your possession.
There are limitations on the amount of space that you can have, but it won’t take much excess stock to make self-storage worth your money, and if you have too much stock then you could either look at getting multiple rooms, or perhaps seeing if a warehouse or something similar would suit your needs better.
Whatever your business does, it probably involves paperwork in some capacity, and paperwork can very quickly clutter up your desk space. In a world where cloud technology is cheap and accessible, moving to a paperless office (or as close as you can feasibly get) is a great way to clean up your physical space.
It’s one thing to make the transition to cloud storage, but if you haven’t been using it from the start, you will probably have documents around the office, some of which are potentially of a sensitive nature, and filing cabinets quickly take up your floor space.
One possible solution is off site document storage. As opposed to self-storage, which will often give you too much space for the documents that you have, document storage facilities will charge businesses based on the amount that they are storing, and they will keep documents in facilities that are made specifically for that purpose, with more extensive security measures than self-storage.
Document storage companies may also offer additional services, such the digitalisation of important paperwork, and shredding, which helps you minimise the risk of identity theft or fraud.
Room to grow
Particularly for startups looking to grow, it is essential to make sure that you have as much space as possible. Clearing out the office clutter could make space for one or two more desks, which means that you can make critical hires and grow your business before you need to look at a larger office (with larger overheads) in order to expand your company further.
Lucy Shipley is group company director at SDS.
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