Office Requirements: Checklist
When setting up an office, it can be tricky to make sure that you have absolutely everything that you might need from day one. For new companies that are just starting up, lacking the right equipment can be a major headache and mean that you are paying staff to be at work whilst preventing them from being fully productive. For office managers who are setting up a new office or simply relocating from one address to another, the problem of getting everything set up and ready to go can be even more stressful, especially if you try to do it all over the course of a weekend.
To organise yourself, a simple checklist is probably the most important tool that you can use. Remember to prioritise your checklist so that the most important elements that make up your business requirements are dealt with first. Of course, what is essential to one business will not be as important to another. It depends on the sort of work that your company does. However in today's age, communication is the key to many businesses' ability to achieve commerce, so in most cases your telephone system and computer network will be the main priorities.
Before selecting an office space to move into, it is a good idea to have a checklist of the things that you will need on day one. Before moving in, check that the office can provide what you need and be prepared to wait if you landlord needs to make any adjustments. Alternatively, seek out another office space that you might rent which already has these things. Your checklist should include:
- Fire safety measures, for example fire exit signage and extinguishers.
- An adequate access control system, such as swipe cards or keys.
- Kitchen facilities.
- Adequate toilet facilities, including a disabled access toilet, depending on the number of staff who will work in the office.
- A temperature control system, for example heating and air conditioning units.
- Under floor or wall-mounted ducting for computer cabling.
- A reception area, if required for visitors.
Being able to communicate with the outside world is a requirement of all businesses. Of course, mobile phone technology is useful by many small businesses and it can also help when medium-sized companies relocate. Nevertheless, for the longer term a proper phone system will be needed. To communicate well from day one, your checklist ought to have:
- Call forwarding set from your old number to your new phone lines.
- Enough phone lines for customers to call in on.
- A private telephone system set up, so callers can be directed to the right person.
- Structured Ethernet cabling so that a computer network can be set up.
- Enough power outlets to plug all of your IT equipment in.
- Routers and broadband connection(s) so that staff can get online.
- Servers that will handle your database and email requirements.
The Office Environment
Once you have prioritised the essential parts of the office that will meet your business' basic communication requirements, it is time to think about just how the space will be set up so that people can actually use it. After all, it is all very well having your IT and telephony infrastructure in place, but it is how staff utilise the equipment that counts. These days, most modern offices offer a great deal of flexibility in the ways which they can be set up. False walls, which can be rearranged in a myriad of ways, are quite common and these make for a great way of altering an office layout to suit your business' requirements. Your checklist should include elements such as:
- A map detailing how the office will be laid out, with meeting rooms and manager's office spaces planned, in advance.
- A desk plan, so you know where all the computers and telephone need to be arranged.
- Locations for shared office equipment, such as photocopiers, printers and shredders.
- Adequate office seating for the amount of staff who will be working in the office.
- Sufficient light to work in.
- Enough blinds or curtains over windows to prevent glare from the sun.
- Consider a break out area or rest space.
- Indoor plants to soften the environment and make it more welcoming.
New offices need supplies just like any others. Even in the digital age, paper is still necessary and the fact is that you will need some stationery and other office supplies. When you are setting up a new office, have any letter headed paper that you might want to use show your new address and it can be worth backing this up with new business cards to issue to staff who are customer-facing. Even for start up businesses, your checklist ought to also include:
- Plain A4 and letter headed paper.
- Pens and pencils.
- File folders.
- Filing cabinets.
- Envelopes and a franking machine, if needed.
- Spare toner or ink cartridges for your printer.