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Small Business. Big Impact

8 Insights and ideas for a new era of work.

Small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are crucial to the economy as they make up a significant portion of the job market and contribute to economic growth, driving innovation and competition. How they work matters.

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Characteristics of SMBs

Interestingly, employees at SMBs are more likely to work in the office three or more days a week than those at larger companies (75% vs. 65%). They’re also more likely to have an assigned desk. Only 9% of people at SMBs work at an unassigned desk. Yet, like their peers at larger businesses, these employees say the biggest reason they come into the office is collaboration and focus work and they would come often for individual spaces that are more private, assigned and larger. These employees also cite spaces for wellbeing and flexible furniture as increasingly more important.

Steelcase small business lunch bench smbs

Like larger companies, SMBs need to create work neighborhoods that will support the different kinds of work their people do throughout the day. Their offices will need to provide a range of interconnected spaces that include: individual spaces assigned to one person or shared amongst the team; collaboration spaces for in person and virtual interactions; places with appropriate privacy for individual work or rejuvenation; areas to gather, socialize and learn from teammates.

smbs statistics

Businesses of all sizes need neighborhoods to help people feel connected to each other, their work and their company culture. They follow the same design principles and space types needed by large companies, scaled appropriately for their size. This floor plan is an example of how to create a great neighborhood in a smaller footprint that addresses the various needs people have throughout the day.

Key features for a successful neighborhood

  1. Dedicated workstations, phone booths and enclaves located at the back of the neighborhood provide places for maximum focus and privacy.
  2. Collaboration spaces adjacent to workstations promote connection and can double as a training space.
  3. Flexible team space can be easily rearranged to accommodate work needs.
  4. Private offices in the center offer a range of settings.
  5. A centrally located space for hybrid collaboration meetings allows people to easily connect virtually and in-person.
  6. Public social spaces at the entrance create a warm welcome for employees and guests to connect.
  7. Unassigned benching gives hybrid workers a place to call home.
  8. Acoustic pods adjacent to unassigned benching workstations give people a place to take a video call or focus.

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