By Rafferty Gifford, digital marketing executive, Liberis Business Finance
No matter the type of business you’re in, every office needs equipment. However, for a new business just starting out, setting up an office and establishing a professional working environment can be a challenge. With such an array of choices for office furniture, stationery and computers available, it is easy to deter from what is absolutely necessary.
As a new business owner, you will naturally want to make the best choices possible without exceeding your budget. Fortunately, if you choose correctly, your office purchases will soon start to generate a return on investment by increasing your productivity and efficiency. In order to help narrow down the essentials, we’ve written our list of the top five items every office should have.
Whether you choose to invest in a tablet, smart phone, laptop or desktop (or all of the mentioned options), choosing the appropriate technology solution will make the running of your business much easier.
In today’s connected world, technology is vital for any modern business. With the ability to stay mobile away from the office becoming increasingly relevant and necessary, having a well-chosen smart phone, tablet or laptop is now essential rather than optional. Field sales employees, managers or the business owner will often have to leave site for various reasons, meaning the ability to access files, and figures is imperative. This can be achieved using a cloud storage system for documentation and Wi-Fi or 4G enabled devices. The ubiquitous desktop computer is still needed in many work places too, for the added benefits of greater functionality, backing up and storing important documents and providing a larger, more capable ‘work horse’ for the tasks that require greater processing power is crucial for day-to-day operations.
A company cannot exist in a vacuum anymore, meaning good quality internet connectivity is imperative. It is important to conduct thorough research into the myriad of different broadband, Wi-Fi and router providers to ensure you get the best equipment for your employees. The risk of not doing any research before purchasing could result in slow internet access and unreliable connectivity, which ultimately would delay your business’ progression and the undertaking of daily tasks.
Work productivity apps and software
Regardless of the device you choose for completing daily tasks, you’ll likely benefit from having a few apps and some software to manage and run the business, particularly during busy periods.
Ideally, you’ll have a work calendar that’s accessible to everyone in the relevant teams. It will also need to be synced with all the devices used in the business; there are lots of options that can either remotely sync or exist within the cloud to make accessibility easy.
Other specialist software will possibly be needed to handle tasks specific to your industry, for example, tracking customer payments, creating and distributing invoices, scheduling appointments across multiple platforms and maintaining your business’ website, blog or social media channels.
Furniture and storage
Now that you have established your software and technology essentials, in order to make the business run smoothly, it’s time to think about office furniture and storage.
A good place to start when setting up an office is with ergonomically designed desks and chairs, and at least one filing cabinet or set of drawers for belongings and securing paperwork. Non-essential purchases that go a long way to improving the standard of the office include; a coat stand or set of hooks for minimising clutter and keeping the environment tidy, a lighting scheme that encourages good eye health for employees and a kitchen facility for tea or coffee making.
When it comes to looking after your employees, there are many Health and Safety regulations regarding display screen equipment (DSE) for instance. It is vital that your employees are well looked after, having a well-adjusted desk and chair and the proper foot rests, alongside a desk lamp to minimise eye strain ensures you are meeting the=statutory legal requirements whilst engendering a positive work place environment for your staff. You could also install software that reminds your employees to take a break from looking at their screen periodically.
Specific documentation and forms
All businesses require some type of documentation, whether it’s for invoices, receipts, contracts, expenses, billing, budgets or accounting. These kinds of documentations, whether paper or digital, help to provide accurate information when a customer, an employee, or management have any questions. It can also provide another source of data if the worst happens and the network fails or there is an emergency. Take time to consider exactly what you will need for your own efficacy and for legal or financial data collection. This small amount of time spent beforehand contemplating the best provisions for your company can provide a stable and trackable growth strategy for you year on year.
Although purchasing office equipment may seem like a substantial initial expense, it is essential for the long-term investment in the business. If up-front financing is an issue, you could try an alternative to a business credit card which is often used as a short-term funding solution and something that is becoming increasingly popular with small, independent, and start-up businesses.
(A Retail Times’ sponsored article)