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Go From Cramped to Productive In Your Small Office Space

So your business is growing, now what? Expanding is exciting, but it can be complicated by a lack of space. Whether you’re looking to move out of a home office or make the most of a small office space, smart organization, strategic design, and little bit of flexibility can help you maximize the space you have!

1. Start With Cleaning

People Sitting in a Modern Office Space While Working at a Long Desk. Photo by Instagram user @area3design

Photo via @area3design

Before you dive into office organization ideas, start by deep cleaning your office. Clearing off desks and re-organizing supply closets can give you a more realistic idea of how much space you have and what items and supplies you still need to make room for.

2. Be Open to an Open Office

Large Open Office Space With People Working at Desks. Photo by Instagram user @area3design

Photo via @area3design

Depending on the field you’re in, your office will have to accommodate different needs. While separate offices and cubicles used to be the norm, many modern workplaces find that an open concept office works best for cramped spaces. Having fewer separate offices leaves room for shared desks and tables, which can be arranged in a variety of space-saving combinations and gives you more room. Utilizing desks and tables on wheels that can easily be rearranged also helps your office adapt to different daily demands and fosters a more collaborative work environment.

3. No Office Is an Island

Shared Office Space with Two Desks and Computers with Nicely Painted Wall. Photo by Instagram user @bethanyjackman

Photo via @bethanyjackman

The idea of one human to one office no longer works in many small business or startup environments. Whether you’re putting desks side-by-side or against separate walls, many offices can comfortably fit more than one person. Sharing offices or cubicles is an ideal layout for a small office to utilize all available space before office expansion is necessary.

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4. Be Flexible with Work Zones

Do you have a conference room that never gets used? What about a reception area but not many visitors? Make all of your spaces serve more than one purpose. Encourage employees to work in nontraditional areas so they see all of your space as their office, not just where they dock their computer. The concept of not having a set desk or hot desking is a growing trend that works well in small office spaces.

5. Grow Up, Not Out

While you may not be able to add square feet to your office, there are more effective ways to organize your current space. Before you start shopping for bigger offices, think about expanding vertically. Often, walls are not effectively utilized in work spaces. From vertical shelving and office wall organizers to using this space for decor, make your walls work harder so the rest of your office doesn’t have to.

6. Clean Desk Policy

If you find that having set desks works best for your company, encouraging employees to keep their space organized can help your office seem larger. Remind workers how a less cluttered desk will result in a less cluttered mind. Storage boxes, labels, and colored folders can all brighten up a space and increase productivity. Minimalist office desk design is a trend that helps employees individually perform better and creates more space in the office overall.

7. Space-Saving Office Furniture

Small Office Desk in a Small Apartment. Photo by Instagram user @wellie_and_wolf_decor

Photo via @wellie_and_wolf_decor

Task desks and workstations are the way of the future, and looming mahogany desks may be a thing of the past. While large wooden furniture has long been a way of showing stature, today’s offices are trading in clunky office furnishings for lighter, more modern and affordable office furniture. Small corner office desks, shared workspaces, extendable tables, and expanding chairs can help clear up space and encourage free-flowing communication and teamwork.

8. Become a Minimalist

Sleek Minimalist office. Photo by Instagram user @area3design

Photo via @area3design

Simply having less stuff is one inexpensive idea for making a small office look bigger. Minimalism is a growing trend in homes and offices across America. Carefully choosing modern office decor that reflects the culture of your office and inspires your workforce is more important than cramming your work with bland photos and unusable trinkets. Designing a small office strategically can also help you stay in one space longer. Plus, less decor to display means you can focus on a few key pieces to decorate with and invest time incorporating color theory that promotes productivity and happiness for your employees.

9. DIY Office Decor

DIY Desk Holders. Photo by Instagram user @ofisadami

Photo via @ofisadami

How to decorate a small office space may seem unimportant when it feels like there are too many people crammed into one area. Because the office is where workers will spend most of their day, creating a homey environment where they feel comfortable is crucial. The good news is that this doesn’t have to break the budget. From turning whiteboards into art competitions and making murals out of coffee filters to using mason jars as pencil holders, DIY office decor can add a pop of design and help you implement office organization ideas.

10. Embrace Traditional Design Styles

Large Conference Room Table with Exposed Legs in a Traditional Office. Photo by Instagram user @frezzaspa

Photo via @frezzaspa

There are a few tried and true office design ideas that can turn any cramped space into a productive work zone. One of the best small office decorating ideas is to incorporate mirrors around the office. Using reflective surfaces on the walls is any easy way to open up a room and make it feel larger. Another small office hack is to utilize exposed-leg furniture for desks, chairs, and couches. Because you can see under this furniture, it visually creates more space in the room. Painting the walls neutral or light colors is another classic design idea for making a very small office seem larger.

11. Ask Employee Opinions

People Working Together in a Small Conference Room. Photo by Instagram user @globalpress

Photo via @globalpress

This may seem like a given, but when you’re trying to figure out the best small office layout, take the time to incorporate your whole team. Find out who needs peace and quiet and who thrives on collaboration. Different people need different things to do their best work, so ask before you assume. Talking to your employees can also help you decide which furniture is most practical and what office layout is best.

12. Let Light In

Open Space Work Space with White Desks. Photo by Instagram user @materialisthq

Photo via @materialisthq

Does your office have windows? Are they covered up? More exposure to natural light can help your employees be happier, healthier, and can improve your office environment overall. To get the biggest benefit from your windows, consolidate desks around these bright areas. If your space doesn’t have great natural light, mimicking these benefits through LED lights, lamps, and warm colors can also brighten the space.

13. Office Planning Software

Clean Desk Space with Computer Turned On. Photo by Instagram user @macsetups

Photo via @macsetups

If you’re dealing with a slightly larger office but not sure of the best layout, office planning software could help you maximize your small office space. Programs for your computer like Room Sketcher and apps like MagicPlan have basic functionalities that are free to use. Get ideas from this software about how to arrange your office. In some cases, hiring a professional may still be necessary, but taking advantage of free software first could save you money overall.

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14. Encourage Working From Home

Woman Working at Home in a Leather Chair. Photo by Instagram user @carolinkraft

Photo via @carolinkraft

There are only so many office organization ideas you can try before you accept that the space you have might not be enough. But even if you’re actually out of room for all your employees, smart scheduling can help you stay in your current office longer. Encouraging employees to spend one day a week at home frees up cramped office space and gives them more flexibility. Obviously, there are times when everyone is needed in the office, but if you can free up a desk or two during the week, your office will seem bigger and employees will appreciate their new freedom to determine how they work best.

15. Rent Storage Space

If you’ve tried out these tips and still find you’re out of room, renting a storage unit with Extra Space Storage could be an affordable and convenient solution! Self storage is a cost-effective way to make room in your cluttered office. Rather than splurging on a bigger location, a commercial storage unit can create more room for you to get work done and provide a storage solution for your inventory. Some storage facilities even have office space available for rent without a long-term lease.