Perhaps one of the more favorable dilemmas successful business owners are faced with is how to properly expand their office. Whether you are trying to accommodate a growing team or enhance your image for better public relations, here’s what to consider when in need of additional breathing room.
Clues That It’s Time to Expand Your Office:
Your Storage is Overflowing
Saving paperwork is necessary for business. But if your office winds up having overstuffed filing cabinets, storage supplies in the hallways, and a chaotic storage room then it possibly time for you to expand.
Maybe putting a few employees in the conference room is a convenient solution, but it is also a red flag that your current space is no longer suitable for the volume of workers you have.
High Employee Turnover
While a constant migration of employees could be indicative other issues, an uncomfortable office setting can definitely contribute to a higher turnover rate and can most certainly be a signal that a bigger office is needed.
Here Are Some Important Things to Keep in Mind When Increasing Your Office Space:
Plan for Continual Growth
Don’t just plan for the team you have now, plan for the anticipated future. It would hurt financially if you have to expand again within the next few years. So make sure your the space is flexible. Ask the question, are you able to modify the space as needed?
Be Mindful of Electrical Capacity
If your company utilizes a ton of computer equipment and other office machines, you need a sufficient amount of outlets, and the optimal amount of electrical capacity. It is best to bring along a qualified electrician to examine this for you while you are scouting different areas.
Examine All the Amenities
Make sure to be very thorough and look at everything from external amenities such as sufficient parking to internal amenities like formal and informal meeting spaces, lounges, kitchens and restrooms. It’s not just about having room for your team to work, but space to accommodate additional office features where is it doesn’t cause grid lock and lines.
Today, employee comfort is of utmost concern. Optimal space is strongly encouraged more than ever. Rather than thinking of their office as restrictive, today’s employees want to think about all the possibilities and perks that go along with working in their space.
Contact our experts at anytime if you have any questions about expanding our workplace.
Downsizing Your Office? Tips On How To Use Your Space Efficiently
All too often, valuable office space goes unused. Whether you are moving to smaller office or just decreasing the available square footage of your current office, be sure to maximally utilize your space. With a strategical plan you can make your workspace appear larger, and encourage employee productivity. Consider these tips when mapping out your workspace.
Be “Size Wise”
Nothing makes a tinier workspace appear more claustrophobic than oversized furniture, so aim to purchase smaller office furniture. No room in the budget for new furniture? Simply donate the furniture pieces that take up a lot of space, but are not really used.
Brighten Things Up
Try to avoid dark colors, they can make the space seem more enclosed. Brighter colors will not only open up the space but can also contribute to a productive and positive psych. For example yellow inspires creative mind, blue stimulates sharper intellect and green offers a calm and collected temperament. Think about the mood you want to encourage when designing your workspace. Also, don’t forget that there is power in good lighting! Open up your blinds to let in some natural light, bring a little bit of outside-inside.
When office space is limited don’t take up valuable real estate with clutter. Plus, there is research which indicates that clutter tends to disturb productivity, while an organized workspace fuels motivation and creativity. Utilize simple tools, such as a desk organizer and labeled folders. Eliminating unessential items leads to more space and more productivity.
Embrace the Cloud
In today’s day and age, why not take advantage of our innovative technology. Rather than keeping excessive amounts of paper, digitize as much as possible. Digital storing is time efficient and extinguishes the need for bulky filing cabinets. Consider uploading your files to cloud-based programs, allowing for data backup and instant employee access both in and out of the office. Remember, if making the switch to the cloud, to keep your information secure, as information is at risk on the Internet. Take precautionary measures to ensure maximum company privacy, by frequently updating passwords and monitoring for any suspicious activity.
To save space, build upwards! Install wall shelving, and stack them one on top of the other. Hang magazine racks to store accumulated magazines, newspapers, and papers. Items, such as reading lamps, televisions, and other electronics don’t need to occupy floor space—mount them. So, don’t limit storage space to solely your desk and grounded furniture. Think vertical!
Tips From A Pro: Tackling Tax Season For Small Business Owners
With the dreaded April 15th tax deadline quickly approaching, it is important for small business owners to consider options and plan ahead. In addition to gathering and organizing paperwork, it may be difficult to master all the intricate rules of tax. However, small business owners, in particular, must educated themselves regarding the “ins and outs” of paying taxes and receiving tax deductions in order to successfully tackle tax season.
In an interview with founder of R.J. Centrello, CPA Robert Centrello, we came up with the following advice for tackling this tax season.
Prepare accurate contemporaneous records and take steps to keep them confidential.
You must remember that your security, specifically online, is at high risk. Make sure to utilize passwords and security precautions to protect your data.
R.J. Centrello stressed the importance of maintaining flawless records when trying to raise capital, as the various taxing jurisdictions may request a review of your records to ensure that you are paying your appropriate share of taxes and fees. Reinforcing the importance of orderly records, Centrello warned that “state and local jurisdictions have become much more aggressive in determining tax liabilities and collecting what is due.”
In addition to keeping these general tips in mind, for some small business owners there are certain special deductions, in which they may be able to take advantage of.
Is your business a start-up?
You may be able to deduct expenses. First, calculate the expenses paid to start your business. These expenses may include transportation, training for employees, or any kind of advertising costs. These deductions are typically considered capital taxes and, therefore, the deductions must be spread out over a certain amount of years.
Do you use your vehicle for business?
You may be eligible for tax deductions as well, such as the costs of maintaining and operating the vehicle. The IRS’s standard rate is 56 cents per mile. Or, you can deduct your actual expenses, including things gas, tolls, and parking fees. According to the IRS, you can still take a deduction if you use your vehicle for both business and personal endeavors. You simply must divide the expenses based on the mileage used for each.
Do you run your business out of your home?
You may be able to collect a home office deduction. However, this is only an option if a portion of your home is used solely for managing business. If you qualify for the deduction, you have two options—to deduct actual expenses or use the IRS’s system. Only expenses acquired from the business portion of the home will qualify for full deductions. Other expenses like insurance, utilities, and repairs can be deductible based on the percentage of your home used for business. In using the IRS’s method the deduction may be determined by calculating the square footage of the area of business in your home by five dollars.
Did you know that your office furniture is tax deductible?
Your office furniture provides another chance to trim your taxes. Items such as desks, chairs, tables, and other office-related equipment may qualify for deductions. You have two choices—deduct the entire cost of the furniture during the first year of your purchase or deduct a percentage of the expense over the course of seven years. Either way, your saving money!
(In addition to considering these helpful tips, we advise companies to consult with a qualified business accountant).
We’ve all been there. It’s eleven AM on a Wednesday. The walls of your cubicle seem to be closing in on you. Your eyes are glued to the clock. You want to bolt for the door. But of course, if you did, you would find yourself searching for another job. So, with a pained look on your face, you slump in your chair and proceed with the usual routine. Fortunately, simple lifestyle changes in and outside of the office will ensure a happier workday. The things you surround yourself with throughout the day have a greater impact than you may think. Even the most dull and dreary jobs can be remedied. A happy workday begins with a happy mind!
1. Wake up just a little earlier
I know what you’re thinking—NO WAY! Who wants to give up those last precious moments of rest before starting the workday? But, your morning determines your day. So, get to bed at a decent time. Resist that Netflix urge. Set your alarm thirty to forty minutes earlier than your usual routine requires. Bolting out of bed, skipping breakfast, or bypassing your morning hygienic routine leaves your body with insufficient time to wake up. Waking up a little earlier will leave you with the necessary wiggle room to relax and prepare for the day with minimal stress. Plan to prepare yourself a hearty breakfast as an extra incentive to get out of bed.
2. Be Nice to your Body
Make sure you’re feeling nourished at work. If your stomach is rumbling you are more likely to feel irritable or unfocused. It is never productive to make important decisions while your body is hungry or dehydrated. Keep a water bottle filled throughout the day and drink more than you think you should. You’d be surprised what some cold water can do for your mood and overall productivity. Have a mid-afternoon snack to hold you over after lunch and before dinner. Healthy choices are always the best decision. Snack on fruit, yogurt, or wholesome bars. A satisfied stomach fuels a happy and sharper mind.
3. Sticky notes, sticky notes, sticky notes!
The world’s most versatile invention—the sticky note. The possibilities are endless. Think of them as colorful little reminders to maintain a positive energy and mindset throughout the workday. Jot down inspiring quotes or funny sayings that just make you feel good. Who’s your ultimate role model? Capture his/her voice and wisdom on a sticky note. Share this insight with others. Leave colleagues little reminders saying, “don’t forget, meeting at 11!,” or friendly notes reading, “stop by my cubicle later to chat!” This is an effective way to stay organized, get up on your feet a bit, and maintain a more personal relationship with your colleagues. Who doesn’t love personalized notes (not to mention on fun, colorful paper)?
4. Make Someone’s Day
Studies have shown that smiling more actually makes you feel happier throughout the day. Friendliness breeds positive energy. Bring this energy into the workplace. Be social with your colleagues. Set aside petty rivalries. Remember, you’re all on the same team. Be nice. People don’t forget it. Not only will this attitude create a more enjoyable and comfortable working environment, but also, will potentially open doors for you down the road professionally.
5. Create a Minimal-Stress Schedule
Plan ahead. Construct a list of objectives for the day and make sure you achieve them. Go at your own pace. Don’t be a slacker, but be realistic. You know yourself and your work habits. Prioritize important projects and avoid lingering on small tasks and trivial details. If you get stuck, move on. When you fulfill all your goals for the day, go back and perfect them. Always stash your cellphone and other distractions in your desk drawer. Aim to be your most productive self!
6. Take Breaks
Working diligently throughout the day takes a major toll on your mind and body. Leave room in your schedule for a mental break. Rise from your chair regularly. Find excuses to walk around. Refill your water bottle, break up your printing and copying tasks to retrieve your work sporadically throughout the day, or simply take a quick lap. Find a quiet room to be alone for a few minutes. Clear your mind. Get outside and stretch your legs. Enjoy a short walk in the fresh air. Absorb the sunshine. Briefly close your eyes and breathe. Listen to a soothing tune or calm ocean sounds—whatever transports you to your happy place.
7. Ask for Help/Lend a Hand
We all run into obstacles at work. It’s okay to ask for help. Rather than a sign of weakness, asking thoughtful questions is actually a chance to better yourself (and yet another opportunity to be social with colleagues). Be open- minded. Accept constructive criticism. Try to see things another way, and schedule regular brainstorming exercises. Conversely, always be willing to offer guidance and helpful advice to others. This back and forth process of sharing and swapping ideas will fuel creativity and teamwork in the office.
So your organization needs to buy cubicles, and you’ve been tasked with the job. Awesome! (Cue sarcastic thumbs-up and over exaggerated smile.)
Realistically, for as much as we enjoy living and breathing the world of office furniture, we have worked with enough office administrators, facilities managers, and purchasing directors over the last 25 years to know that buying cubes is not the most awesome thing in the world. Without the right direction, this process can be almost as painful than a root canal.
We also know that this task is probably among a million others on your to-do list that are all screaming with importance. We hear you, and we understand, which is why we constantly offer resources to make your “job” of buying cubes easier so you can get back to work.
Below are hands-down the four most crucial elements of the cubicle buying process. These tips have been compiled after thousands of conversations we have had with people in your shoes. Rest assured that following these steps could save you precious time and unnecessary headaches.
One last thing – we do not dive into an obvious element of the process: Budget. Only you and your team can determine what you have to spend. Knowing that each company’s resource pool is different, we have built a product line ranging from basic to highly-customized, so we can work within any budget.
Read on to learn more about how to get your plan in place, and feel free to contact us with any questions.
Space Tip – How to be Accurate
Measuring the space needed for your cubes sounds easy: Just grab a tape measure and any co-worker with a pulse.
Here’s where people go wrong time and time again: They don’t look at the big picture.
Square footage is a key number of course, so you record that measurement for areas where cubicles will reside. But also take into consideration any offices, electrical poles, copier areas, or other “dead zones” where cubes won’t be deployed. Taking a few extra minutes to break the large office space into smaller areas will help you when it comes time to select cubicle configurations and sizes.
Also, if you are purchasing cubicles for a new office setting, it almost goes without saying that you should measure the new office space area, not your old one. You might be surprised at how many times people don’t do this and end up wasting time.
Quantity Tip – Counting the People
How many people work in your office? Better yet, how many people need cubicles?
Many times it takes a little more strategy than just going through the company directory and counting the number of co-workers you have. You may need to have conversations with the business owners or the human resources manager to see who actually needs a cubicle. For instance, a specific scenario to consider is related to sales personnel: Do they need personal cubes, or do they “work from home” or “operate remotely”?
Again, be sure to take into consideration whether your company is hiring. The last thing you need is to place an order, have cubes installed…and then have to go through the process again.
Requirements Tip – Determining Size and Features
We all know the line from “Office Space” – now you get to ask the question!
Determining the tasks your employees perform on a daily basis is extremely important because it will help you nail down the requirements for individual cubes such as size, height, storage, power requirements, and more.
Here are some things to consider:
Privacy – Are your employees on the phone all day making calls, like telemarketers or inside sales representatives? If so, cubes with higher walls are ideal and more privacy work best for them and everyone within shouting distance.
Storage – Cubicle dwellers working for organizations in healthcare and insurance, for example, have substantial amounts of paperwork, binders, and files. They may need multiple shelves, cabinets, and other storage compartments to support their work.
Power Requirements – Is one outlet enough? Probably not if you employ developers or designers who have high-powered computers, monitors, and other gadgets. There are various cubicle options available for users of all types.
Timeframe Tip – Creating a Realistic Timeline
Nobody ever wants to hear this, but you should realistically start planning your cubicle deployment 30-90 days before you purchase. That’s a far cry from the “tomorrow” timeframe that our customers are often given, but it’s also not that crazy.
If you are replacing cubicles, give yourself a few weeks to measure your space, determine the quantity of cubes you need, and develop a game plan for cubicle needs based on your employees’ tasks. Finalizing space layout, cube configurations, and colors takes another week or 10 days. Delivery can be five or 10 days at least, especially if your vendor has a quick-ship program (like us). So right there you’re in the 45-day range.
And if you’re relocating your office, add another month for packing and moving. This is a big job – don’t rush it!
Developing a realistic timeline can also help you manage the expectations of the powers that be, which is can save you even more stress (we hope).