Building a Startup Environment into Your Office Space

by Jessica Sanders on September 11, 2012

No longer do the standard white walls and tall cubicles work for the modern office. Gen Y employees and the ever-growing startup industry have forced businesses to reconsider the way they build and put together an office.

Before, your main concern was getting the right copier, but today it’s getting the best couches. And though you may not be able to turn into Google Plex overnight, you can build that environment into your office.

Get the Right Feel

A significant factor in building your office like a startup is the feel that it projects. Startups encourage a sense of productivity and relaxation that stark white walls and confining cubicles just can’t. So, when creating a business space, you need to get the right feeling. To do this, you’ll have to consider a number of design components.

  • Unfinished: A popular look for startup companies? Unfinished. Think half garage half warehouse. Wood floors, brick walls, the works.
  • Vintage: Antique décor, off white walls, old wooden desks.
  • Open: Startup spaces are almost always wide open. This is done to encourage collaboration between departments and co-workers.

Use the Right Furniture

The next step in building your startup environment is to utilize the right furniture; this plays an important role in the office as a whole. The furniture you choose has to encourage the startup ideals of openness, collaboration, health and individuality.

  • No cubicles: Getting rid of cubicles all together is a popular choice among startup offices. Utilizing standard desks or long chains of workspace opens up the area and leaves more room for communication. Still, be sure there is still space for personal items when going this route. Studies show personalizing the workspace enhances employee satisfaction.
  • Half wall cubicles: If you aren’t ready to go cubicle-less, consider choosing the half wall style. These will offer enough open space while still providing your employees with some private room.
  • Standing desks: More and more employees are requesting standing desks. These alleviate the health issues that correlate with sitting in a chair all day.

Have the Right “Stuff”

Finally, no startup is complete without the right lounge and play equipment. With a focus on work/life balance, employees are looking to take more breaks throughout the day. While this is beneficial for them, it’s good for the business well. suggests, “It’s the companies that work hard to establish cultures of play that attract great people, continuously push the boundaries of innovation, and ultimately win.” So, how can you incorporate the right “stuff”?

  • Couches: An area to relax is important for employees to check out after a tough phone call or long morning.
  • Games: Games not only keep your current employees happy but attract great new candidates as well. Job seekers are looking for this alternative office culture.
  • Outdoor area: The 3pm slump is no stranger to any office worker. However, providing them with a space to do work in the open air can give them a natural energy boost. This has been proven to beat the midafternoon slump better than another cup of joe.

With a significant amount of people on the job hunt, you want to hire and retain your best employees. One way to do that is to build the startup environment into your office. Not only will this attract the right employees, but keep them satisfied for the duration, as well.

Bio: Jessica Sanders is an avid small business writer. As the marketing copyeditor of Resource Nation, she touches on a range of topics such as prefab buildings and commercial real estate.

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