When you’re starting a business, there’s so much to consider before you open that you may end up forgetting something vital. When it comes to buying equipment and supplies for your office, the list can seem endless, so we’ve put together the essentials to get you up and running in no time. We’ve even included a list of ‘desirables’ that may improve employee motivation – because after all, research has shown that happy employees are more productive.
Furniture & Equipment
As far as furniture and equipment goes, there are a few staple pieces which all offices will need to invest in for smooth day-to-day running. These include:
- Desk and comfortable chair. Both you and your employees will need a desk to work from. Ensure they have enough space to work comfortably once their monitor and keyboard are in place. They may well want to bring a few personal items such as a photo, favourite mug as well as pads and pens. As for a chair, many modern offices are turning to stand-up desks in a bid to keep their employees healthy. However, there should still be an option of a chair should they require it. Look for an ergonomic chair that has an adjustable back rest and is height adjustable so your employees are sat comfortably while they work.
- Client seating. Every now and again your clients will want to meet at your offices, so it’s important you set up an area especially for them. Whether you have a separate boardroom for client meetings or simply a reception area for them to relax in should they arrive early, it’s wise to keep your clients at ease. Look for comfortable seating that also lends itself well to ‘talking shop’ so your meetings are productive.
- Shredder. All office environments contain confidential information – and when you no longer need it, you’ll have to dispose of it safely and securely. Buy a shredder for the office to make sure confidential documents remain private, whether in use or not.
- If you’re printing off information for every employee, make things easier for yourself with a photocopier. That way, you only need one original hard copy and you can make as many copies as you need efficiently.
- Telephone/ conference phone. The type of telephone system you install in the office depends on how many of your employees will require use of the phone. For example, a call centre environment would require a phone and headset for every employee, while a small start-up company may only require one telephone for the manager to use. Medium to large companies with employees working across multiple client accounts will benefit from conference telephone systems to make having group calls with clients easier – especially if part of the team works from a different office location.
- Flipcharts. Having use of a flipchart helps in the same way as a whiteboard – only it’s a lot more portable so you can move it from room to room, and office to office. Who said client meetings had to be boring?
- Interactive whiteboard/ large format displays. In today’s digital age, an interactive whiteboard can come in handy during presentations to clients or in all-company meetings. If you prefer to present from your laptop, hooking it up to a large format display will enable everyone to see, preventing people at the back of the room from becoming distracted.
- Whiteboards and marker pens. Do you ever have mind-map sessions where employees shout out a range of ideas? It’s a great way to get the creative juices flowing, whether you’re working on the next client pitch or coming up with new business ventures. Keep a record of every idea on a whiteboard so you can assess which ones you can develop further and which ones to save for a later date.
Computer Hardware, Software & Accessories
Every office employee needs their own computer to work from. And you can’t just stop there:
- Desktop computer and monitor. The traditional office set up consists of a desktop computer and monitor for every employee, hooked up to the same network. Make sure the monitor screen is large enough for your employees to sit in front of comfortably without taking up too much desk space. Similarly, it’s a good idea to buy slimline desktop towers to maximise space underneath desks.
- Keyboard and mouse. To go with your desktop and monitor, you’ll need a keyboard and mouse. These do not have to be top-of-the-range expensive models but you may wish to consider the ergonomics to keep your employees comfortable while they work.
- Wrist rest. Typing all day long can put strain on your fingers and wrists, so investing in wrist rests for your employees will keep their wrists supported, preventing any injuries and improving productivity in the process.
- Printer. Even if your office has a minimal paper rule, there will come a point when you or an employee needs to print a hard copy of a document. Whether it’s a client presentation, a contract, or anything else, you’ll need a printer that is capable of your print load. You’ll also have to decide whether you want to print in black and white only, or give your employees the option of printing in colour.
- Laptop. It’s more common these days for offices to issue their employees with a laptop for work – especially those who travel a lot to client meetings. This ensures work can be done on the move as well as giving employees the option of a more flexible working day as they are able to leave the office earlier (to collect children from school for example) and continue working once they get home.
- Scanner. Sometimes, you’ll need to create a digital version of a hard copy – be it a signed contract, performance review or anything else you’ll want to refer back to but need to keep safe and secure. To do this, you’ll need a scanner. You can probably limit this to one per office and keep it with HR – or invest in an all-in-one printer, scanner, copier for the whole office to use.
- Word processing software. Create client-ready professional-looking documents with word processing software.
- Operating system software. It’s up to you which operating system you use, but you’ll need to install the software in order for the rest of your computer to function.
General Office Supplies
It’s also a good idea to keep a topped-up stack of general office supplies. These are everyday items which you or your employees might need at a moment’s notice.
- Envelopes. In today’s digital age, there becomes less of a need for envelopes. That said, any official communication between you and your employees, such as a change to a contract, will need to be printed out and placed in an envelope.
- Stationary. Pens, pencils, scissors, paperclips, highlighters, post-it notes and notepads all fall under the general heading of ‘stationery’. From note-making to proofreading documents, it’s helpful to have plenty for your employees to use.
- Printer paper. The last thing you or any of your employees needs is to run out of paper while printing off an important client document or a presentation. Keep a well-stocked supply of printer paper in a cupboard so you never run out.
- Printer cartridges. Similarly, you don’t need the added stress of printer ink running out in the middle of printing so be sure to stock up on cartridges, particularly black which often runs out the fastest.
- Cleaning supplies. Whether you’ve hired cleaners to keep the office tidy and germ-free or you do the cleaning on a rota basis, it’s always handy to keep basic cleaning supplies stocked up. Remember to keep a supply of computer cleaning equipment too to ensure keyboards and monitor screens remain dust and debris-free.
Desirables to Improve Employee Motivation
Keeping your employees motivated doesn’t have to be difficult – and can lead to a more productive, happier workforce as a result. Here are a few items which can improve office life for your employees.
- TV. During lunch, it can be relaxing to catch up on a favourite television show or watch the news, and keeps employees connected to the outside world. It’s important that employees have a proper break away from their desk so they feel refreshed and ready to work hard again in the afternoon – and a television in the kitchen can help with this.
- Sofa/ beanbags. As comfortable as a desk chair can be, there’s nothing quite like a sofa or a beanbag. If you have a breakout room, it can also be useful for creative employees as they may feel more stimulated in relaxed surroundings.
- Games console. Perhaps your employees like to relax with a game of FIFA over lunch? A games console can help people from different teams bond and may lead to closer-working relationships and improved communication – which is a necessity in every company.
- Radio. Liven up a dull atmosphere with a radio. Take it in turns to choose the station or select a neutral one that plays most musical genres. A bit of background noise can help some employees work better, plus it’ll likely relax people enough to get them talking – again leading to improved communication and better overall work.
- Speakers. If you’re in a large office, it can be difficult to hear a radio that’s at the other end of the room. Investing in a few sets of speakers ensures everyone can hear what’s being played. Alternatively, it can allow smaller groups to manage and control the music themselves – so if someone’s on the phone, the volume can be turned down accordingly.
- Coffee-maker. Coffee is necessary fuel for almost every office worker. It wakes them up faster in the morning, chills them out at lunchtime, and keeps them going during a quieter afternoon. Consider investing in a coffee-maker to make their coffees that little bit more appetising. It will show you value your employees’ needs, in turn making them more likely to want to produce good work on time.
- Microwave/ toaster. Sandwiches and salads are all well and good but for those who work long shifts, a hot meal can really help get them through the day. Having microwave or toaster facilities can give your employees the means to cook breakfast, lunch or dinner, keeping them fuller for longer and less likely to get distracted while working.
Is there anything we’ve forgotten that you’d add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!