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Space Design, Tips

As a startup, you probably have a lot on your plate – you need to be creative, work hard, motivate people to do a lot with a little, and work against time to make your mark in this world!

Most startups cannot afford more than a tiny office in which to make all this magic happen and this can sometimes be disheartening. You may have found yourself saying – “If only I had a bigger office…”.

But if that’s something that’s not going to happen any time soon, dig deep into that entrepreneurial spirit that brought you on to this road in the first place and get innovative with making the most of your small startup office space!

Here are a few tips from Zeitgeist to get you thinking on those lines:


A small office could come across as ‘poky’ or ‘cramped’, just as easily as it could come across as ‘inviting’ or ‘exciting’. It boils down to a few aesthetic choices.

What is the culture you are trying to build at your startup? Is it one of collaboration? Let the layout of your space reflect this. With between 5 to 12 people in a firm, a startup generally isn’t hierarchical in nature, so why not reflect this in the layout of your office? An open office plan can make a small space appear bigger than it actually is. Several heavy partitions on the other hand, not only waste space, but also make a small space appear even smaller and cramped.

You will of course require an area where quiet contemplative work can be carried out, or where one-on-one discussions can happen, but this can also be blended into the layout of the office, as shown in this section of content agency Bubble’s office in Prague:

Here’s some more inspiration from modular office furniture designer Spacetor for quiet nooks:

If your office is just too small to incorporate a couple of “quiet nooks”, consider investing in a couple of noise cancellation headphones for people to use when they need to concentrate.


Light, neutral colours always make a space look larger, while dark or loud colours can be intimidating or claustrophobic in a small space. However, a pop of colour – maybe one bright accent wall, tasteful imagery, or a few pieces of accent furniture can add character and liven up an otherwise dull space – the trick is to get the balance right, always keeping in mind the culture you’re trying to cultivate.

The meeting room of the Appboy office has an accent wall that is perfect to stimulate creativity and engaging conversations.


Maximise the use of natural sunlight in whichever form it enters your small office space, especially before noon – this is the most beneficial sunlight of the day. Natural sunlight boosts productivity, improves the mood and is the best light to work in, so don’t block it with curtains, shades or a badly located cupboard.

If your office receives little or no sunlight, invest in suitable artificial lighting – it could make all the difference to a small office.

Greenery and good adequate lighting create a productive workspace at the Typeform office.


Opting for minimalist furniture along with an open office design further enhances the feeling of space in a small office. Again, one or two heavier pieces to add character is fine.

Storage is always a problem in small offices so try to invest in multifunctional furniture that also doubles up as storage. There are a lot of modular furniture options in the market today – Ikea and Muji are just two examples of such manufacturers – that allow you to move pieces around based on your changing requirements. Try to imagine how you could put one piece of furniture or even one element in your office to more than one use – for example a wall can easily be converted into a chalk or white board surface.

Customisable, space saving office furniture from Featherlite


The biggest enemy of a small office is clutter. Decluttering must become a daily practice – make it a priority to deal with all paperwork/correspondence once a day and discard what is not required.

In a small office, it is about more than just having a place for everything and putting everything in its place. It is about only keeping what you really need to use. This will depend on the nature of your business of course, but keep items that are regularly used easily accessible and those that you sometimes use in concealed storage. If you haven’t used something in over 6 months, perhaps it’s time to ask yourself if the item needs a new home!

Little things make a difference – use cable holders to keep things neat, holders to store stationery on your desk, and since lateral space is limited, consider going vertical to add concealed storage space for things used once in a way.

A smart storage solution from Ikea


While choosing your small office layout, furniture, lighting etc, always keep in mind your team’s well-being. Choose ergonomic furniture based on the kind of work they do. Add a few potted plants. Make sure their work space is well lit and ventilated and where possible, provide a small area for recreation or pause.

A tiny area for pause and interaction at the Appboy office

Your small office, if designed right, can be a place that employees are happy to come to and motivated in to deliver their best.

Do reach out to Zeigeist if you’d like help making the most of your small startup office space.


Business Tips & How To's

In large organisations one is likely to find a plethora of people dedicated to various marketing roles, such as a Market Research Director, Social Media Manager, Content Strategist, Marketing Analyst and so on.

In a small business however, as Marketing Manager, you might find yourself having to don several of these hats simultaneously, while also working in tandem with your Sales team.

The great part about this is that your job is NEVER ‘boring’; there’s always something new to learn and experiment with and you begin to see the marketing function from a more holistic angle, as well as understand the intricacies of each function – something that’s good for you, as well as for the business.

As interesting as the role is, it requires you to:

1. Be very good at planning ahead.

2. Focus not only on the marketing strategy, but the actual management, execution and measurement of it as well.

3. Continuously coordinate with a variety of people both internally, as well as outside the company.

4. Be on top of a lot of schedules, metrics and timelines ALL the time.


So what do you do when you have all these wheels spinning at the same time, each with their own momentum, while you are required to steer your marketing plan through the uncharted waters that are a startup’s market?

You employ the assistance of smart productivity tools and for me this tool is the G Suite by Google – one of the most user friendly productivity and collaboration products out there – perfect for any job that requires teamwork.

Now, many (or most) of you probably already use, or at least know about, G Suite; it is vastly popular. This article is intended for those of you who don’t use it yet.
I’d like to specifically share my experience with how it has helped me in my role as the marketing manager of a small sized startup.

I’m not here to tell you about the features and benefits of the G Suite – that’s been done many times over, which a simple Google search will reveal to you. I’m here to tell you about how it can help you, specifically, if you are the Marketing Manager, CMO or Marketing Director of a small startup. Maybe as the owner of the startup you are the CMO, Sales Executive and Social Media Manager all rolled into one! If so, you are just the kind of audience this article seeks.


G Suite consists of several tools such as Gmail, Calendar, Google+ and Hangouts for communication and Drive for cloud storage.

Docs is a word processor, Sheets is a spreadsheet, Slides is a presentation programme, Forms is for surveys and questionnaires and Sites is a wiki and web page creation tool.

Granted, you may not use all that the G Suite has to offer (and there are a few more tools that I haven’t even mentioned) but there are some tools that can really help simplify your everyday work life.


G Suite allows you to:

Collaborate Easily

Internally, I do a lot of work with our Graphic Designer and 3D Visualiser to create content, and to showcase our work. With our Sales team I need to create or edit marketing material like ppt sales presentations, vet emails etc. Externally, I work closely with our Web Developers to regularly update our dynamic website to showcase our latest work. This means a LOT of files need to go back and forth! I simply create a folder for a particular task on G Suite’s Drive and share it with all the people who are party to the project – they can upload their bit when it’s ready.

With the Comments function one can add a comment / suggestion and assign a person to resolve it. The person automatically receives an update that lets them know they have something pending.

Share And Locate Files Effortlessly

Like me, I’m sure you’ve often been stuck sifting through a bizillion emails to find a file someone sent you a month ago. With G Suite, files can easily be shared on the Drive, and the person creating the file or folder can also set editing rights – so you can allow others to either edit or just view the files.

It saves a LOT of time as everyone knows exactly where to find something when they need it. Your Sales Manager urgently needs to show a client he’s with a brochure or a cost benefit analysis? All he needs is the online link to the Drive where it’s stored!

The cloud storage allows you to also easily upload large sized files, without clogging up someone’s inbox – great for sending those high resolution print files!

Create, Monitor and Share Schedules

If you’re managing the marketing of more than one brand within your company it means you need to be on top of a lot of schedules – content calendars, advertising campaigns, sales targets etc. I find Sheets very useful for this. While some people prefer preset schedule management software, I like the flexibility Sheets offers to customise a schedule exactly the way you want it – so you can develop and modify a system to create one that works best for you and for the task at hand.

Again, with functions like different levels of authorisation, role assignment and all the other features a spreadsheet offers, down to the simple things like colour coding options, it helps you stay on track and know where you’re at, at a glance.

Work On-The-Go

I travel a lot and thus a fair bit of my work needs to get done when I’m on the move. I use the G Suite app, which means I can work on a lot of things from my phone. This saves me time and I don’t necessarily need to have my laptop in front of me all the time.

Make Reporting A Breeze

It’s easy for top management, such as my Board of Directors to always knows where we’re at on a particular project, without necessarily having to get in touch with me, as long as they have access to the reports via the Drive, which I can update at any time to let them know where we’re at.


In case you’re thinking – but I’m so used to working on Word, Excel and PowerPoint, how will I make the switch? – that was my thought exactly when I was first introduced to G Suite.

But guess what, you CAN upload compatible files like Word and Excel onto the Drive and then edit and share them from there! The operational features are also very similar to what you’re familiar with in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. So the transition really is a breeze – so let that not be factor that stops you from trying it out.


I haven’t managed to list out all the plus points I’ve come across while using G Suite and I know the functions that I use of G Suite are not even the tip of the iceberg! I’ve only scratched the surface – there’s so much more it has to offer; I learn something new everyday about how it can enhance my productivity at work.

But I’ve truly come to look at it as my online buddy that helps me get things done quickly and easily. Most importantly, it helps me keep those clubs (or knives, balls or fire torches – depending on how you view your work!) in the air all the time, and prevents them from coming crashing down around me.

If you’re finding managing more than one role at work overwhelming, try the Google Suite – it could be the answer you’ve been looking for.

Gitanjali Singh Cherian
Marketing Manager