“I think a simple business rule is, if you do the things that are easier first, then you can actually make a lot of progress” – Mark Zuckerberg
In context with PM Modi’s “Make In India” initiative, the Economic Times reported that nearly 4500 startups registered in 2015 alone. And this number is likely to grow this year considering the high investor backing and Central government support.
While business strategy and capital are crucial elements of a startup, one important element that doesn’t get much credit is the office and the office design. Having a well equipped office with technical facilities not only helps in keeping the employees motivated, committed and engaged, but it also lets the entrepreneur focus on the work without having to worry about the office.
As a startup, your objective should be to focus only and wholly on your core business. Your office should be a faciltator in meeting your business goals and not a thing to be managed or worried about. Your workspace goals should be as clearly defined as your business goals. Important things to consider when looking out for an office are location, space and its ability to grow or contract along with your business, parking, transportation, electrical and technological amenities, and of course the budget.
You can choose between either leasing a fixed office space or renting a serviced workspace. While the former guarantees a tried and tested traditional office setup, it is the co-working & serviced workspaces that are trending. A study by Harvard reports that employees from co-working spaces thrive higher than employees from regular offices. This means that apart from being professionally equipped with modern facilities and falling in your budget, a co-working workspace or a shared workspace also ensures employee engagement and productivity thereby positively impacting your profits.
So, if you have narrowed down on going ahead with a shared workspace, then it is best to completely let go of the other choice of leasing a fixed office space, and focus on the following:
Alignment – align your workspace needs with your business requirements. Determine how much and what kind of space you need. Business Centers, co-working and other flexible workspaces offer hot desks, board rooms, BPO spaces and conference rooms. Pick the one that suits your business. The layout is important to run your startup comfortably. For example:
A designing firm may like more discussion spaces that are wide and open which help collaborate and brainstorm ideas.
A chartered accountancy firm may prefer executive offices or meeting rooms that are more confined and ensure confidentiality of the discussions.
A meeting to discuss a business aspect will require a more modern and chic ambience like a business lounge.
Technical amenities – ensure that the shared workspace has sufficient number of outlets to accommodate your equipments; the internet connections should be fast and of high capacity; printers, photocopier and fax machines must be well functioning; the projectors in conference rooms and training halls must be compatible with your computer; phones used for BPO setup should not have any disturbances.
Public facilities – it is important that you check on the number of bathrooms and if they are clean and functional.
Cafeteria – there should be a hygienic and functional kitchen along with sufficient seating capacity. Food and beverages should be available round the clock to encourage flexible working hours.
Price – money is invariably a deficit when you are a startup. So it is essential to match your willingness to spend with actually incurred expenses. There could be hidden costs like parking, furniture, wi-fi usage limit, etc. that can add up.
Ability to expand or contract – check if your serviced office allows you to add more seats and amenities as and when your business requires. When you get that big order, you surely do not want to turn it down because you do not have space to manage it from.