How to kit out your office

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How to kit out your office

Have you moved into new premises recently? Whether you're a brand new start-up or relocating to a different office, the process of kitting out your premises can be a daunting prospect.

After all, there is so much that you need, and procuring the right equipment is just one of countless different matters that you might be dealing with at any one time.

We therefore thought we'd round up all the key issues you need to consider about when you're looking for new office supplies, so you'll be less likely to forget something important.

Furniture

An obvious one to start with, perhaps, but it's something you can't manage without. Every office needs to be equipped with enough chair and desk space for everybody who works there day after day, as well as a suitable number of spare spaces and seating for people who come in intermittently, such as clients and temporary contractors.

While bringing in furniture, consider whether you can possibly create alternative spaces for people to do work away from their desks. Areas such as break-out spaces can ring the changes for people in a typical working day and help them be more creative and productive.

At the same time, don't forget to consider the health and wellbeing of your staff as you are bringing in the furniture that they'll rely upon every day. For instance, ergonomically sound chairs will be essential if they are to avoid developing back pain.

Other key issues to remember are the practicality of their desks. Is there enough space on their for an in-tray, a telephone, stationery and their cup of tea? Is there somewhere they can put their bags and hang up their jackets?

It's also worth considering bringing in adjustable desks, so workers can tweak the height to the level that works for them and even take up the option of working while standing up.

Storage spaces

While many of your files and documents will probably be stored digitally, you will still need drawers and cabinets for various office supplies, such as printer paper, pens and the petty cash tin.

Draw up a list of all the individual items you will need to store and then you can work out exactly how much storage space you will require in your office.

Stationery

The increased reliance on technology in the workplace doesn't mean the need for traditional office stationery has declined.

In fact, a sufficient supply of pens and paper is essential throughout the working day, for everything from taking notes to printing and signing important documents.

Other essentials include erasers and correcting fluid, smaller notepads or Post-Its. Staplers and staples, pins and clips could also be useful if loose papers need to be secured, along with files and folders.

Factor in your stationery procurement when you are deciding on how much storage space you want to bring in.

Technology

While the Bring Your Own Device to work trend is in full swing, companies shouldn't really rely on this as a substitute for bringing their own IT infrastructure.

Each individual employee really needs to be equipped with their own laptop or desktop PC. By bringing in the computer hardware yourself, you can better enforce any technology-related policies you want to put in place and be more confident that data security regulations are being adhered to by all your employees.

You can also roll out updates more easily if you are in charge of your business's IT infrastructure. That's not to say that it can't be useful for staff to use their own laptops or smartphones, particularly if they are doing work while on the move.

But it's not really a long-term option that a viable business can depend on, particularly as computers in an office environment need to be linked to other pieces of hardware. For instance, you will need a dedicated printer.

While many documents can be stored digitally, you will often need paper copies of correspondence, contracts, invoices and much more besides.

Conversely, businesses that want to have digital back-ups of documents that only exist in paper form will need a viable scanner. This could be particularly useful if you don't have the storage space to keep all paper items, such as receipts that need expensing and forms that have been filled in by hand.

Screens and projectors

There will be many occasions where a visual aid can be helpful in a meeting or presentation, both internally and when you are dealing with external clients. You will therefore need to bring in a system that is compatible with your computer systems to help you deliver slick and professional displays, capable of impressing outsiders and communicating information effectively to your staff.

Paper Shredders

Many of us will routinely use paper shredders at home when we're getting rid of old bank statements, utility bills and suchlike. You need to apply a similar principle in the office if you want to reduce the chances of sensitive data falling into the wrong hands.

Any documents that are being disposed of should be shredded first. After all, papers that are in tact could easily be retrieved from a ban, and if those documents do contain sensitive information, the consequences could be incalculable.

Not only would you be in breach of data protection laws, you might have put your customers at risk. Your reputation would therefore take a huge hit and customers would be reluctant to transact with you in the future.

So don't forget this vital piece of kit, to make sure that not one trace of a sheet of paper can be legible.

A kitchen

Many workplaces provide basic kitchen facilities for their staff, where they can have short breaks throughout the day and prepare and store their lunch and snacks.

This doesn't have to be anything extravagant, but ideally you'll want a working sink and fridge for perishable foods, as well a microwave (at least) if people want to warm up last night's leftovers.

A cold water dispenser and a kettle are also essential, as staff will want to stay hydrated and refreshed at work without paying for the privilege.

Other useful purchases if they are storing their food on site and eating it in the office include cutlery and crockery.

Again, these aren't costly purchases but will go a long way towards making your office a happier and more productive working environment.

Think about what you would want and require if you were in a kitchen space at work and the list of what to procure almost writes itself afterwards.