At Updater, our office is more than just a space to get things done. It's a space to inspire creativity and maximize productivity. I believe an awesome office is a key component for attracting top talent, and keeping your team engaged, collaborative and happy.
You don't need to be Google to create an office that inspires and excites, though. Our company of nearly 50 people did it and so can your company. Yes, we just spent some serious money on a new penthouse headquarters in New York City, and here's why your company should consider an investment in an awesome office, too.
Investing in personal space
Of course, it's obvious that when your company is outgrowing its current space, you need a bigger office. But don't forget the exponential increase in the need for personal breathing room as the team expands. Our former HQ had only two conference rooms — and it drove people mad. With nonstop client calls, sales calls, internal meetings, and dance music blasting at times, we needed many more private and quiet spaces. Quadrupling our overall space was necessary based on growing headcount, but investing in a large number of meeting rooms (from numerous conference rooms to a bunch of tiny two-person huddle rooms) led to increased productivity and sanity.
Investing in great technology
We have about 10 remote employees and sometimes they felt too ... remote. So, to break down communication barriers, we built up our video conferencing technology, our messaging apps, and gave each remote employee a budget to improve the tech in their own home offices. While expensive, it was an absolute game-changer for meetings and morale of the remote team.
Sometimes, we work long hours. And 10 to 12 hours sitting in a chair can be unhealthy. For that, we invested in Herman Miller desks that electronically adjust from sitting to standing with the touch of a button. They're about as exciting as a desk can be. Aside from being fun, our employees can now avoid sitting fatigue, and have the opportunity to course-correct their previous years of back issues. This translates to happiness and a healthier team.
We also have a complex database that only about half the company knows how to query. Therefore, monitoring progress toward our goals was difficult for some. We invested in high-resolution televisions placed strategically around the office to keep us on track in real-time. These also serve as constant reminders of our mission and our goals. This translates to team members staying focused and working smarter.
Investing in fun
Having fun at work is a hallmark of the Updater team culture. Everyone knows that startup offices are among the most fun in the world, and for our 10,000-square-foot space, we invested in some startup classics: a ping pong table (with a stadium seating viewing section, of course), a foosball table, and four kegerators (naturally) including one exclusively dedicated to champagne for celebrating wins of all sizes.
But, the real source of fun is the team itself. Since we moved to our awesome new office, our team has taken things to the next level: They've became inspired to start an Updater Book Club, host our first Family Day, and coordinate beer tastings, game nights, movie screenings and more. Fun comes from within, and it helps to have an awesome office to enable and inspire the action.
Investing in our history
Custom art isn't something I'd typically spring for, but the right art can inspire your team and express your brand's identity and history. For us, that meant hiring the extremely talented Greg Kletsel, a sketch-style artist, to design an epic mural about Updater.
In our new mural, you can see the evolution of our brand, our mission and our team. You see it all: a dog on a couch being carried by movers, pizzas used as payments to the friends who help you move, many of our company inside jokes, even our own longest-tenured employees are featured in the mural. Seeing themselves in the art feels a bit like a reward and a creative "thank you" for years of hard work and dedication. (Unfortunately, in the mural I'm depicted screaming at the sight of a spider).
Not only has the mural become a centerpiece by which we love to sit and work, it's a reminder of why we love working at Updater and the mission that keeps us moving forward.
Investing in our future
First impressions mean everything. With an awesome office, prospective employees who visit feel confident that we have our act together (even when we don't), and they're more confident that they could be comfortable and happy as a team member at our company. We made this investment not just for our current team, but also for recruiting our future team.
When building out our office, I was constantly examining the bottom line. How much are we spending? But, I realized that the bottom line analysis needs to take into account all of the benefits mentioned above; a new office is so much more than an investment in a bigger space to facilitate a growing team, it's an opportunity to invest in your company on all fronts. Putting time and money into an office that promotes fun, learning and collaboration is an integral part of building a great culture and an efficient, happy team.
About the author: David Greenberg is the founder and CEO of Updater, a company that provides solutions for moving needs.
Edited for length and clarity by Nicole Taylor. Have a great entrepreneurial story to tell? Contact Nicole at firstname.lastname@example.org with your pitch.