How to Handle Office Design When Going from a Start-Up to a Scale-Up

Space Refinery
July 27, 2022

Say you’re an exciting start-up that’s been growing rapidly over the last year. Through your hard work, you’ve managed to grow, secure funding, and now it’s time for you to take the next step as your team expands. That cozy office you loved when you started, your original home, is no longer cutting it and shoving another desk in the corner is no longer an option.

Does this sound familiar?

It’s never easy for a start-up to scale-up when it comes to office design. We always hear design stories about a trendy new start-up, or an existing company looking to modernize. But one of the fastest growing demographics which needs office design help is the scale-up.

What is a Scale-Up?

Scale-ups often refer to existing businesses that are ready to take that next step. Whether it be an exciting tech company that has received their next round of funding, one that is turning a profit and has outgrown their current office, or a company that needs to scale-up in order to continue their rapid growth.

In technical terms, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development defines a scale-up company as one that has maintained 20% annualized growth over a 3 year period. The scale-up knows it has an awesome product and service and it’s ready to continue its exponential growth.

And when these companies grow, one of the first things they need to focus on is office design and creating an office that works for their business. That means finding an office that is the right size, one that reflects your brand, and most importantly, one that fits your company culture. Office design is about more than just finding a building and furnishing it. After all, anyone can throw a few desks and chairs into an office and call it a day.

But guess what?

That isn’t really office design and that office will lack the specific finishes that a scale-up may need to succeed. After all, every company is different. What works for one company (say the Spotify model), will not work for a more rigid business like an accounting firm. That’s where office design comes into play. Finding the right experts to help you identify and showcase your corporate culture through your office is important.

Understanding Why Office Design Is Essential

We’ve talked extensively about the importance of finding the right designer and the different elements they can capture in their designs. But more importantly, modern office design is about mixing fun and healthy elements together.

Where start-ups are forced to rent a cheap office out of necessity, and established businesses have to work within the confines of their existing office, scale-ups have the freedom to pursue their own office design destiny. When you are moving into a new office, you can truly take advantage of the office design process because you are working with a blank slate. In essence, you have the opportunity to tap into any one of the benefits we are going to list below.

Here are a few examples:

1. Biophilic design: A type of design that focuses on the natural world, nature, and rustic elements (plants, wood, stones, etc.). Research shows that biophilic design provides tangible health benefits. It may seem odd that plants and natural elements can do so much for us, but they really do, and scale-ups have the option to pursue this to whatever degree they want.

2. Acoustically-sound design: Noise is distracting in the workplace. Developing the right acoustics is essential if you want to create a workplace that allows your employees to work in peace and quiet when they need it.

3. Culturally-aware design: It isn’t enough for your business to be generic anymore. The best employees want to work for companies that have a distinct culture. We’ve talked about Spotify’s agile workplace, Google’s feature-rich offices, and other companies in the past. Your office design initiatives not only need to focus on your culture, but they need to enhance it as well.

By taking advantage of the science behind office design, you can create a working environment that your employees will love for more than one reason. Not only will your workplace be healthy, but it will be one that they enjoy coming to.

During the scale-up stage, companies rely on having an office that enables their employees to do great things. Whether this takes place through collaboration rooms, employee relaxation lounges, quiet workspaces, or whatever works for a particular scale-up. These options can easily be included in any design plan, especially when you are starting with a blank slate.

Working With Your Office Interior Designer

If your company has no choice but to scale-up, it’s time to talk strategy. You’re going to have a lot of ideas, some of them great, and some of them not-so-great – and that’s fine.

As experienced office interior designers, we recommend you take the time to plan out what your dream office looks like. Ask yourself a few of the following questions:

1. What is your budget for this office?

2. No, really, what is your budget for this office (with some flex for when things don’t go perfectly).

3. Where will your employees work?

4. Is it an open office, or closed concept?

5. Does it have collaborative spaces?

6. Do you have any specialized rooms in it?

7. Is there a specific color scheme for it?

8. What does your company culture look like in an office setting?

9. Was there anything you liked or disliked about your old office?

10. What worked and what didn’t work?

By answering these questions, you will provide your office interior designer with the information they need to help you create your office. Communication is everything in the office design process. It takes a lot of faith to trust a designer to help you build your office.

But we can promise you one thing.

It’s definitely worth it in the end. There’s nothing quite like seeing all of your ideas come to life. And even better, there’s nothing like having the perfect office that will allow your business to scale.

Leave Office Design to the Experts

When your business experiences rapid growth, you have no choice but to scale-up. Finding the right office, designing it, and furnishing it is a time-consuming process.

When it comes to office design, we recommend you leave it to the experts. An office interior designer understands how to listen to your ideas, how to turn them into actionable design plans, and how to carry out the actual design process. Just as your customers rely on your expertise in a specific product or service, you need to learn to rely on your office interior designer to create the right office for your business.

Space Refinery specializes in modern office design that focuses on the science behind design.

We’ve been working with scale-ups, and we know exactly what your business needs to take the next step.

If you are interested in learning more about the science behind office interior design, we recommend you contact us through our website.

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