When we think of a workspace for a small business, the first thing that usually springs to mind is that of an office. However, a large proportion of small businesses in the UK are not clerical, and a large proportion of those are located in a small unit on an industrial estate.
Those units are rarely purpose-built for that particular business, so often companies find themselves trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, which leads to many compromises within that business’ processes to accommodate the surroundings. When you also consider that the unit is also one of the business’ largest overheads, you can easily understand why it is important to use that space well.
This selection of space-saving tips for both and outside the unit is by no means a cure-all list but does offer some pointers to make your cramped workplace run that little bit more smoothly.
#1 Desk space and computers
Yes, there’s normally that sectioned off area either by the doors or upstairs that counts as the offices, but do you really need that many desks and computers in the manufacturing area? You might have three or four sat there, not being used 90% of the time.
After all, most manual paperwork gets done leaning on a workbench or the crate that just got packed up, and a lot of things can be done on phones or handsets now anyway. All of which don’t require a desk. Try removing all of the admin IT from the shopfloor apart from the one you get emails on and the one that you do the shipping paperwork on and see if your business grinds to a halt – you might be pleasantly surprised.
#2 Reduce your waste
In any manufacturing process, you have an end product and you will also have, regardless of how efficient your operation is, waste. Storing this until it can be collected for disposal or recycling can take up a huge amount of space.
By consulting recycling compactor manufacturers in your area, you can find a solution that can reduce the amount of space both inside and immediately outside your unit that can be used for another purpose.
So, by reducing ‘useless’ space, making the most of the space you have, and then making sure that space is not taken up with waste products are three easy steps to make the most of that very expensive industrial unit.
#3 Use the unit’s height
The one thing that so many of these industrial units have in common is that they all have very high roofs. If you’ve got everything all cramped down at floor level this might be one area you can exploit to create some extra space.
The first and easiest use of this area is for storage. Investing in some taller racking to store your supplies and equipment is a small price to pay for the extra space (and resulting productivity) gained by moving your little-used items above eye level.
If you can build a mezzanine level then, weight restrictions permitting you can almost double your workspace. If however, some of your machinery needs to be at floor level, moving any admin operations upstairs means you can reuse that space.