Regardless of your role in business, one thing is certain – how you set up your office affects how your clients and prospective clients perceive you and your business. The same is also true of a home office if you meet with clients there. Not only do you use your office design to market to your clients and prospects, but it can also affect your own productivity.
Below you will find five office setup ideas, including the best home office setups. You will also find our best tips for your office desk setup. These will help you create the ideal desk for maximum productivity and creativity.
How you design your office will be your client’s first impression of you and their first indication of how you do business. You want your office setup to tell them you are a professional who is up-to-date and a go-getter, rather than someone who is disorganized or in dire need of their client’s money. That being said, you will want to strike a good balance between comfortable, inviting décor and a professional look.
No matter the size of your office or where it’s located, you should always keep abreast of current technology and try to incorporate it into your business. Your clients will expect this and, if you don’t, you could risk falling behind the competition.
1. The Small Office
If it’s just you in your office space, you want to make sure that potential clients who come in without an appointment are comfortable enough to wait for you while you tend to other clients or important phone calls. Provide an inviting couch and/or comfy chairs for these important people to relax in. Have something to read handy. But be mindful of what you set out on your tables and what you have on your shelves. What you read or subscribe to says a lot about you; and, you will be judged accordingly.
Hopefully, you’ve put a lot of thought into your business’s logo. You can tie in the colors of that logo with your office décor as well as your website. This creates a nice symmetry, especially for the large number of potential clients who will have looked you up prior to coming to check you out in person.
You will also want people to have a way to peruse listings, brochures, or other marketing materials while they wait. If you can afford it, consider purchasing a flat screen TV in the lounge area to rotate through listings, customer reviews, or other messages.
For added flair, you can place some attractive plants around the office. Not only do they clean the air, they also reduce stress, promote focus and increase productivity.
2. The Dedicated Home Office
If you are planning to see clients in your home office, it’s a good idea to dedicate a space for it where you can work and conduct meetings without interruption. While you want your home office to look professional for your clients, they may already have a somewhat negative impression of someone who works from home, so it’s a good idea to personalize your space a bit. Just remember, one of the most important things you can do to maintain that professional atmosphere in your home office is to keep it clean, so hire someone if you must to keep it looking its best at all times.
But just because you need a professional look, doesn’t mean you have to hold on to that ugly filing cabinet. Come up with creative and attractive ways to store your documents out of sight, like window seats, ottomans, or baskets. While some people actually convert their closets into offices, you can certainly use yours to hold your filing and supplies. This is a great way to stay organized and clutter free.
It should go without saying that a home office should be comfortable and inviting for clients as well. Even if you don’t have much space, you can still achieve this with the right mix of comfortable furniture and pleasing décor. For instance, don’t sacrifice your clients’ comfort by opting for a larger desk for yourself and having to skimp on the seating. And don’t forget the greenery. Plants are not only pleasing to the eye; they help keep the air fresh.
3. The Personal Home Office
For those of you who prefer to meet with your clients and prospects elsewhere, your home office becomes a much more personal space. It’s still a bad idea to hang out on the couch or the bed, of course.
Choose a space you can set up as an actual office, then make it your own. Your décor should be a custom fit for your unique personality. To keep those creative juices flowing, make sure to change up the pictures, art and knick-knacks regularly.
You will need a desk in your home office. Since sitting all day can cause all sorts of problems, and evidence suggests that standing can increase productivity, you may want to consider a standing desk. However, standing all day has its drawbacks too, so a sit-stand desk may be a good alternative. Whatever type of desk you choose, placing it near a window is actually a good idea. In a study at Cornell University, natural light was found to improve alertness, mood, and productivity – while also reducing stress.
For the Brokerage
1. The Open Floor Plan
Many brokerages have been embracing the open floor plan to encourage collaboration and interchange between agents. Some even have no assigned work stations. Others have work stations with low partitions which provide some privacy while at the same time promoting mindfulness of those nearby. Brokerages adhering to open spaces do still have meeting rooms for privacy or quiet.
One of the ideas behind this type of setup is that agents will do most of their work away from the office. This floor plan caters to that idea, while often allowing the business to run out of less area than would otherwise be needed for spaces like private offices.
2. The Community Appeal Office
This office takes its cue from the increasingly popular lounge and café styles. Here you will not find your typical lobby and receptionist arrangement. Instead, you might find couches and chairs with a table that is actually a touch screen computer where people can view the listings being offered by that brokerage. This type of office caters to the whole gamut of client needs, from buying and selling, to architecture, design and décor.
The atmosphere of this type of setup could be anything from casual and laid-back, to upscale and trendy. What these non-traditional offices generally have in common is the integration of technology and the emphasis on client and visitor comfort.
Tips for the Best Office Desk Setup for Productivity and Creativity
- Clutter is the killer of productivity. It’s that simple. Keep your desk as free of clutter as possible. Keep only what you need on your desktop at any given time. Store the rest out of sight. One exception to this is for small items that inspire and please you. You want to enjoy being at your desk.
- Use a keyboard and mouse if you are working on a laptop. Your wrists and arms will thank you.
- A good, ergonomic, desk chair is a must. Whether you opt for a standard desk or a sit-stand desk, you’ll need a chair that supports your posture. Here is what your desk chair should do for you when you’re sitting up straight in it.
- Thighs should be parallel to the floor with knees at a 90-degree angle and feet flat on the floor.
- Elbows should be at a 90-degree angle with the top of the desk to reduce arm and wrist discomfort.
- The top of your computer screen should be at your eye level.
- The best lighting is a combination of both natural and artificial lighting. Having enough light is the key. Try floor lamps for versatility or even wall mounted lights to cut down on desktop
- Do keep small plants on or near your desk not only for their beauty and health benefits, but also for the boost in focus, creativity and productivity they will give you.
At the end of the day, your office space should inspire you, wherever it may be. The key is to find the right balance between your own comforts, and those of your clients.