Office Design

6 Symptoms of a Too-Small Office

David Spence
May 17th, 2018

When a business grows, so does its space needs. A company also needs the right tools to keep the office and facility organized.

The Right Time for Space Management Software

You may not be at the point where you need space management software just yet, but you may find yourself needing it soon enough. Typically, when companies have around 200 employees in one location, it becomes a headache to manage space using ad-hoc tools such as PDF floorplans and multiple spreadsheet. This is especially true if any of the following traits describe your office.

1. You’re Losing Employees

People quit their jobs for a number of reasons. Bad management. Bad culture fit. Mismatches with the job. Another possible reason could be the lack of room in your office or the workplace environment. Who wants to leave the space of their own home to come to a place where they have to bob and weave through the people and things crammed together in one spot? There are other problems associated with this crowded setup (see No. 4 below). If you notice a high turnover and your workers are packed in like sardines, the lack of space could be the culprit. Does your company track the reasons why employees leave? This is usually an HR function but it should be communicated to Facilities so that corrective actions may be taken as needed.

2. The Break Room Isn’t An Escape

If you have a small break room, this could lead to people taking their lunches somewhere else, which could lead to longer lunch hours and decreased productivity. You don’t want your workers to be stumbling over themselves just to get out of the office for room to breathe. Problems with lunches that go on too long could be a sign that you need to do some re-arranging in your office.

3. The Conference Room Is A Workstation

Are some people monopolizing the conference room because there’s nowhere else to sit? How long do you think you can sustain that? It’s a quick fix, but it’s not one that will last forever. For example, if you need to use the conference room for an actual meeting, having your employees clear out each time you need to use it will get old quite fast and is not productive for any of the employees involved.

4. Workers Are Packed Together

Personal space is important to productivity and happiness. Not only that, but being packed in can breed tensions in the office. When one worker is trying to get a project done and he or she is sitting near others who are chatting away, resentment is just around the corner. Blocked creativity can also stem from not being able to hear one’s own thoughts.

5. Your Business Is Outgrowing the Building

When companies expand, growing pains can’t be avoided. Hiring new employees generally means requiring more space, new equipment, and new furniture. The Facilities Department should be made aware and involved as early as possible in the company growth plans. Too often Facilities is notified late in the process since other departments don’t comprehend the ramifications on the workplace and the space requirements. A client of ours recently told us that to accommodate 4 new hires they had to move 40 employees. It’s probably safe to bet that none of the other departments thought it would be a big deal to “just find 4 desks for these new hires.” You can never be too prepared to be able to accommodate rapid growth in your organization.

6. Overstuffed Filing Cabinets

too many files for filing cabinet

If you find that your filing cabinets are rendered function-less because they’re so full you can’t even open them, then that’s also a sign that you need to fix your space. Of all the problems associated with having an office that’s too cramped, this one can be the easiest to solve. You can invest in cloud storage or collapsible file storage to cut down on the office’s paper trail. It may not be the cure-all your office needs, but any thing that frees up more space will be helpful. When was the last time you looked at that TPS report from 1999?

When you’ve moved into a better and larger building, space management software can help you arrange your workplace. How? It will keep track of equipment, work stations, and people so that you’ll have an idea of the best locations for each. Moving an employee won’t be a complicated puzzle; instead you’ll target the right place for them within a matter of minutes. With this useful organizational tool at your disposal, you’ll laugh at the old days when you had an office full of people but nowhere to put them and managed the office with a pile of printed floor plans, highlighters, and spreadsheets.

Image credit: Rawpixel, Chris Benson, Shutterstock