If your commercial space is limited, it can feel impossible to find any worthwhile changes to make. But with a little help from the right turnkey project specialists, small commercial buildouts can be massively exciting. It is actually a great time to do a commercial buildout if your space is small because there are so many unique ideas and build designs currently aimed at making the most of small spaces. In the hands of a general contractor with the right mind-set and creativity, your team will arrive back in love with their new work space.
Design Elements in Small Space Commercial Build Outs
The actual elements you choose to incorporate will have the most immediate effect on the senses and moods of your staff. These should be planned wisely. There is a psychology behind design elements that can be very useful. Like the age-old trick of using mirrors…
Don’t box anything in. Keep everything open. Use fluid lines and rounded shapes in all features and fittings. Separate spaces in ways other than walls. Try and make space as modular as possible, with pull back walls and pillars, beams, arches, and decor instead of doorways.
Nothing dark or warm can help your cause. Neutral, light, and cool is best if you are trying to create the illusion of spaciousness. This is perfect given how light and minimalist furniture and textile trends currently are.
Light fixtures are vital – get the right ones and don’t choose this as the feature to skimp on. The meager light bulb invention has come a long way. Properly implemented lighting is going to save you. Better yet, bring Mother Nature on board and have her do most of the work by making the most of windows, doors and skylights. Add them and share them in as many spots as possible, bearing in mind that they need to be UV efficient for the sake of your workforce. Many office floor plans could stand to be redesigned so that natural light falls in shared space, where previously it went mostly to cordon-off offices.
Optimize Digital Space Along With Physical Space
Part of making the most of your work areas involved removing outdated systems in favor of modern ways of doing as much as possible.
Digitize Everything You Can
Meetings (even with in-house staff) can be digital as often as possible. This will limit the need for boardroom space. Many companies believe, and it is encouraged, to have as much boardroom space as possible, but we are going to suggest that “common” space be created instead. Digital is often perceived as risky – it can leave staff disengaged. But it can also mean that you are touching base regularly.
Allow Remote Work
If your staff can work remotely, even occasionally, allow it. Small spaces are a lot less cramped when the walls aren’t closing in on you all 40 hours of your work week. If remote work is not an option, do as police often do and create teams on shift so not all hours see all employees present. This means that people can tag-team workspaces instead of “owning them.”
Physical Boundaries In Small Commercial Spaces
Some old school notions of how to privatize and divide space require serious revision when dealing with smaller commercial spaces.
Functional Work Areas
Longer work desks, where people can set up alongside each other, are more appealing and functional than round desks. So, here is where boxy shapes benefit. Work areas can still feel private if set up so as not to feel invasive. Booths are easily set up or deconstructed along longer areas.
Some designers are turning otherwise unusable space into work areas in clever ways. These can be incorporated into your small commercial space during a build out process. Passageways and corners can be transformed even momentarily to suit a more private need if designed properly.
Structurally, this will require putting weight and additions to the walls and ceilings. You need to ensure this is done safely and that it is allowed. Some buildings are not equipped for certain functions. Finding a way to create vertical pigeon hocks alongside workspaces can help. Desk space can get full easily with open files and documents. If these can slide into accessible slots, people will stop thinking they need such huge desks. They will also feel less bogged down by the visual of their workload.
If there is enough unused space overhead, stair and loft areas can offer storage and perhaps some privacy without it needing to meet the weight bearing requirements of being a permanent office. The use of loft space is regulated in much the same way as an attic space when it comes to build outs.
Shared Space For Optimized Uses
We can get stuck on the idea of square feet per employee, and we can get stuck on the idea of each person having a dedicated workspace. There is some emerging evidence to suggest that this may not be the most productive set-up in a modern sense.
Shared areas, which include kitchens, restrooms, and presentation rooms are worth a look. If you are open to having a shared office space with another “small space” business, then these communal areas can be shared. This means designing the floor plan so that it is accessible to each set of employees.
Often, small companies don’t have the need to for full departments of every kind and type. Small businesses doing buildouts together to benefit each other can consider including mutual offices for mutual departments Common receptions, IT and even social media departments can benefit growth and economize on space.
Common spaces can be designed to be adaptable. They can be created to fit all needs like meetings and presentations. Additional privacy can be created by dividers and modular walls. They can also include areas that fulfill different needs that your staff might have. Some companies have looked at including small pods that offer quiet or down time for staff, which in a small and often shared work environment, can be a real value-add.
Exchanging individualized work zones for couches or long work surfaces, creating different types of workspaces that are all shared, can make what space there is beneficial to all on an enjoyable scale. This can happen internally or with other businesses. If you think about it, a person who does not need to work in a collaborative fashion or in communal areas might very well be carrying out a function that can be done remotely.
There are also innovative designs that create quiet individual space without needing cubicles and personal work areas. These designs can inspire the right build-out team to create similar areas in your available space.
The Stuff Wasting Your Commercial Small Space
Every item takes up space. So, when you are taking the time to do a build out, also take the time to reassess your actual material needs in that space.
Go digital. So much paper storage space can be saved by just as easily keeping everything on digital file only. Remember to backup effectively off site. This affects your footprint, too, and so is just generally the way to go. This may mean you need to have an expert come in for pro tips on how to have safe room allocated to your digital needs, especially in a small space. These areas need to be ventilated for our warm and humid climate. The points and weight bearing areas need to be designed in such a way as to support the heavy electric and physical weight. There would be renovations involved here to make sure you meet all safety regulations.
Use light and moveable, modular furniture. It’s fun, feels less restrictive, and takes up much less space. Built in, or fold away workstations, expertly done to ensure maximum workspace safety, is another great way to go in limiting space eaters. Portable workstations in lap desk form can also be encouraged. That way, even those that cannot work remotely can feel less confined. Because of studies into ergonomics and health, you could even consider standing workstations instead, and having most of your seating areas be communal with dual purposes, like meeting/eating spaces.
Your screens take up a great deal of space, too. When creating communal work areas, create wall space that can be used as a projector screen.
Even The Pens
Okay, maybe pens are too far, but many pieces of stationary can be done away with or limited to shared stock instead of individual sets. Like staplers and punches, if you’re paperless, are really not needed at every desk. Then desks can have single drawers and stations can be compact without feeling crowded. Using computer backgrounds can easily replace home affections like picture frames. Headsets can limit the need for desk top phones. Decluttering can go really in-depth here. Remove everything, question everything, re-instate minimally. Minimalist thinking is trending for all the right reasons.
With so many ways to make improvements, what you really need is a company that can offer you turnkey solutions that are tailored to fit your small space commercial needs. Contact Miller Construction & Design at 561-988-2637 for any size build-out project. Whatever limitations or horizons define your construction plans, we can create your dream space from start to finish.