The importance of office space
First of all, there is probably no one-fits-all rule for office space. Depending on your business and activity, and on many other factors like will you be receiving customers or not, your ideal office space definition might be different from mine.
What has changed since we have moved atHome Group to these new offices, from my point of view as IT Manager? We finally have a true IT room now that holds all of the servers and networking stuff. This is not a direct productivity win, but it makes life much easier because maintenance is done centrally, and the risk that someone unplugs the server “by mistake” is removed. All in all, this provides for better IT infrastructure management, less risk, and more overall performance (features) for everyone.
At our old offices, we grew the company so fast that we didn’t have a conference room anymore – we had to use it to place the new recruitments. This was a very big draw-back. Even without talking about the impossibility to receive customers in a proper environment (doesn’t look very professional if they have to sit in the corridor…), alone the fact that the team members didn’t have a room to hold meetings was a very big problem.
We see this now that we have two decent meeting rooms again: a smaller one with just 6 chairs and a table, that suits perfectly for small management meetings where you have to discuss things, and a larger one that can hold up to 15 people, equipped with a Cisco conference phone and a projector.
This room and equipment has prooved to be a big addition to the IT team’s productivity in no time. Before, whenever we had to discuss a technical implementation or functional overview, we had to stand around someone else’s desk in the middle of our part of the office. Now we can sit down together, use the projector and have really productive meetings without causing inconvenience for the other office users.
In a nutshell – don’t underestimate the power of decent office space and make sure your team has the proper environment to work correctly. Especially some smaller companies would say that they can’t afford a meeting room with projector etc. but this is a mistake. You can build a good meeting room with an Macro table, 6 Macro chairs, and a cheap LCD screen you hook up on the wall, and a cheap laptop with Wifi Internet, and there you go : perfect IT meeting room for less than R10,000 !
Also check out Simon Baker’s post about office fit-out : http://myceolife.com/2008/08/office-fitouts-one-of-the-keys-to-a-great-culture/
Article by Alain Fontaine