James Douglas Burbank

James D. Burbank has been in marketing for more than a decade. He has worked in traditional as well as online marketing and he has seen it all. He is also a huge Utah Jazz fan.

James Douglas Burbank has written 12 articles for SB Informer.
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A Few Tips for Setting up an SMB Office

Great work environment is half the battle

James Douglas Burbank

August 11, 2017

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In order for your employees to be able to put in a good day's work and be efficient, they need a work-inductive environment where they will feel relaxed but also energized. Many SMB owners think of office design as an afterthought and, thus, make a huge mistake. A well-designed office can do wonders for the productivity and job satisfaction of your employees, truly making a difference.

But, how do you do it?

Finding the Space

Before anything else, you need to find a space where you will set up your SMB office. This may seem like an easy thing to do, but there are more than a few ways in which SMB owners regularly mess this up. You need to know how much space you will need (usually between 100 and 150 sq. ft. per person), what amenities you will need, and what kind of a neighborhood you want, among other things.

Depending on where you are setting up your company, you will probably have access to commercial buildings where you will share space with other companies. Once again, you need to think about this long and hard before you decide on anything.

In addition to this, you should keep in mind that your company might grow in the future and this is why you should avoid particularly long-term leases.

Importance of Furniture

One of the most common mistakes made by SMB owners when setting up their first office is that they try to save as much as possible on furniture. The reason why this is such a huge mistake is that cheap furniture is almost inevitably insanely uncomfortable and impractical. As a result of this, your employees will be working in poor conditions and you can rest assured that no one will be giving their 100% in circumstances like that.

It is also more likely than not that you will have to replace the majority of your furniture very soon once your employees start to complain about your super-cheap first option. Ergonomic furniture is always a smart way to go (not the cheapest, though).

Human-Friendly Design

Small offices can be dreary and sterile places and when you try to find the real reason for such a situation, you realize that it was only due to the owner not caring enough. They do not care there is not enough light, there are no plants and the walls are bare.

They should care. You, as an SMB owner, should care.

Your people need to work in an environment that is human-friendly and where they will feel like they are part of an actual real world and not some sort of a Terry Gilliam-like corporate nightmare.

This does not even have to do much with being nice (which is never a bad idea, by the way). It has to do with keeping your employees happy and engaged. This will boost their productivity and it will reduce employee turnover, which can be a huge problem for a small company.

Office design is far more important than you think.

All the Right Tools

You can have the largest, most beautifully designed small office, packed with the most incredible employee-friendly furniture, but if you supply your employees with PCs from 1998 and printers from 1988, it will all be for nothing.

In other words, your people need to have access to tools that make it possible for them to get their jobs done.

This will range from quality computers (ASUS notebook always a good choice), printers that are not replicas of the Gutenberg's original inventions, presentation and communication tools, as well as your everyday stationery.

Instead of a Closing Word

Instead of a closing word, remember this – it is always a good idea to have some kind of a communal space, a kitchen that can fit more than two people or a bigger corridor with a sofa or two.


You will want to have such a space so that your people can interact on a more personal level and build relationships that will be crucial for your company culture.


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