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Setting Up an Office from Scratch: Here’s What You’ll Need

Setting Up an Office from Scratch: Here’s What You’ll Need
May 26, 2021 gnuworld

home office

Source: Iconic/archideaphoto/Shutterstock

A well-planned and optimally set up office is key to a happy, healthy and productive workforce. It requires maximised utilisation of space and quality office furniture and equipment.

For corporate offices, it’s best to employ office relocation and furniture management services. Here’s what you’ll need if you’re setting up an office from scratch.

Three core elements to setting up an office

Setting up an office is based on three core elements:

  • furniture and equipment
  • support services
  • spatial layout.

Steps to planning an office

Before you buy or rent premises or purchase equipment and supplies, evaluate what’s needed to keep business operations flowing. Start with the office furniture.

Assess office furniture requirements

The first area of focus is the workstation and how you intend to furnish it. Is a desk with adequate storage needed or is an L-shaped desk or standing desk more appropriate?

What type of office chair fulfils your requirements – a midback or highback? Is additional seating required for a reception area, boardroom or canteen? If so, which chairs suit each setting?

Ergonomically designed office chairs are the best choice when it comes to enhanced health, wellness and comfort. They’re height and tilt-adjustable, support the lumbar region and are available in a wide range of styles.

Lastly, establish storage needs. Do you need filing cabinets to store hard copies of important documents?

Which office services are required?

The next area of focus is establishing the services required. High-speed internet, an IT network and telephone services are essential for all to all offices.

Additional services like an answering service, cleaning service and alarm system or video surveillance may be required.

Evaluate office equipment and supplies

home office

Source: Mike Mcritchie

Make a note of the office equipment you’ll need to keep your business running smoothly – a desktop or laptop computer, monitor, printing and scanning machine, external hard drive, answering machine, paper shredder, air conditioner and heater.

Then hone in on the supplies, from printer cartridges and stationery to desk organisers, staplers and pens.

Create an office floor plan

home office floor plan

Source: Smartdraw

Once you have a clear idea of what’s needed to set up your office, create a layout based on the office floor plan. There are three types of traditional office floor plan:

  • open
  • closed
  • modular

An open-plan office is ideal for collaborative work. However, it lacks personal space and storage solutions.

open plan office

A closed-plan office offers enhanced privacy and optimum storage but workers can feel isolated. This layout requires a lot of space.

closed plan office

A modular office has the benefits of both open and closed spaces. It’s easily customised using screens, partitioning and the creative use of desktop monitors.

modular office

Factors to consider when setting up an office

There are a few factors to consider before signing a lease agreement or deed of purchase on office space.


Consider how important it is to be close to your customer base, within an easy commute for employees and walking distance from a major public transport node.

Is a secure business park or office in a block located in the CBD more appealing? Once you’ve decided on an area, look for suitable space.

Buy or rent?

Do you want to buy or rent office space? Buying can have long-term benefits as the business will end up with a high value asset.

If rented office space is more attractive, ensure the lease is for a limited period of time. Read and understand the terms and conditions of the agreement.

Business insurance

Business insurance must be considered. This applies to start-ups, entrepreneurs and freelancers. There are four types of insurance to consider:

  • personal injury liability
  • cover for premises, equipment, accessories, inventory and supplies
  • business-interruption insurance
  • general liability insurance.

Setting up an office checklist

A checklist is the final step in the process. It is a wish list of the items every small business owner desires but can’t necessarily afford.

Here’s an example of a home-office checklist:

Office essentials

  • computer
  • monitor
  • high-speed Wi-Fi
  • desk
  • ergonomically designed chair
  • stationery
  • external hard drive
  • overhead lighting
  • landline or mobile phone
  • surge protector for load shedding
  • printer and scanner
  • cloud-based data back-up
  • filing cabinet.

Luxury items

  • communications, accounting, CRM and marketing software apps
  • uninterruptible power supply
  • paper shredder and recycling bin
  • power generator or inverter
  • network router
  • safe for sensitive document storage.


Now that you know how to set up an office from scratch, we can help. At K-Mark, we manufacture an extensive range of high-quality office chairs – and our chairs are used by leading corporations across the country. We also provide office relocation and furniture management services to businesses in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. Contact us for more information or to discuss your needs.