One of the harsh realities of becoming an entrepreneur is that you are now responsible for all the little things that make an office productive. It is one thing to know your business inside and out. It is quite another to set up and actually run that business from scratch. While working for the company, you had a privileged position of never having to worry about things like accounts receivable and accounts payable. You never had to deal directly with budgetary matters. You just made requisitions and new equipment eventually appeared. That is not how it works in the real world.
You also never had to worry about office maintenance and equipment servicing. If a computer went on the fritz, you just called a nameless IT critter to come take care of it. You never had to worry about changing light bulbs, that was the task of someone else. And you never had to think about the myriad of things that came together to make working in an office work so well for the vast majority of the people in it.
Now that you are striking out on your own, it is time to lease your own office space. Be warned, it will probably need a few repairs and upgrades to make it work as well as your previous space,
Here are a few things you will need to do to make that budget office space into a productivity machine:
The reason you were never too cold or too hot in your previous office is because somewhere in the accounting paperwork to which you never had access, there was a very big line item for HVAC. That magical system that churned away in the basement was expensive to instal and expensive to maintain. It was always someone else’s problem. Now, it’s yours.
Call one of the more reputable local HVAC companies in your area to find out if it is even worth it to continue maintaining an older system. It could be that you will save money by putting in a new system that is more efficient and will save you money every month.
Don’t take climate control for granted. If office workers are not comfortable in a building where they will be spending most of the day, productivity will naturally suffer. That productivity loss has to be factored into your decision to repair or replace the old system. It is one of your first, big decisions as an entrepreneur. Make it a good one.
As an employee, you might be blissfully unaware of accessibility requirements. When setting up an office, all those requirements become your responsibility. If you suffer from a disability, you are already somewhat familiar with the tools the disabled need for success. What you need to know is that providing those tools is not merely a good deed; it’s the law.
Your office has to be wheelchair accessible including kitchen and bathroom. You have to provide things like large computer monitors, magnification software, and screen reading software for the visually impaired. Fire alarms have to provide a visual indication as well as sound for those hard of hearing. You do not have the option to overlook applications of qualified people with disabilities just because you can’t imagine how they will do the job. As a new business owner, that has to be baked into the budget, and every part of the office space.
Remember how it was always bright with perfectly color balanced lighting in your old office? That is another one of those unsung productivity boosters office workers tend to take for granted. Transforming that newly leased space of yours will require some careful thought and consultation with a lighting specialist.
Even if the current lights are acceptable, there is the matter of keeping them maintained. You can’t replace industrial lights with just any off-the-shelf bulbs. If you are running a creative space, lighting is even more important. If you don’t take your office lighting seriously, it could be lights out for your new business.
Becoming an entrepreneur requires taking a deep dive into the little things that you didn’t have to think about when you were working for someone else. Don’t open your new office space without sorting the HVAC system, accessibility, and lighting.