In every startup and company there is always a “first office” where everything began: this office is never planned and it can be whatever space that you get as cheap as possible.
You are just at the beginning, just trying things and there is no need to have expenses before the idea has been validated. As so many before us, itnig started in a small cubicle inside a parking-lot that belonged to the CEO’s family. It has no natural light nor ventilation.
Even though it’s all good memories, we quickly (and luckily) moved into a big desk that the young Teambox (now Redbooth) borrowed us in exchange of support. And then later to the first office we actually paid for, a weird space of 50/sqm with low ceilings in a passageway close to Sagrada Familia (huge cathedral in Barcelona). We were just jumping from one space to another looking for the cheapest place where we could fit all our members.
The reasons why I’m telling you about all of our weird offices, is to make the point that you don’t need a fancy place until you have regular income. Before that, you only need internet, enough desk and coffee.
So, how to design offices for startups in high growth?
The main requirement is to have flexibility. When looking for an office check that you have more space available in the same floor or building to keep fitting all the new employees. If you’re a startups your main goal is often to grow fast, and jumping from office to office creates unnecessary expenses.
Co-working spaces can be a good choice but check first that they have more free spaces where to fit your growing team. Also, when signing the rental contract, negotiate a 3 and 6 month rolling break so you have more flexibility to leave the office once it for some reason doesn’t fit your startup anymore.
Go for an open space, it’s everything. It makes it easier to be flexible, as we already talked about, but it also makes it easier for your team to interact, be social, share knowledge and be creativity.
Just as humans, rooms need air to breathe.
It can be hard to find an affordable office that also has a lot of space. A smart thing can be to look for an office with a lot of windows, or high ceiling, at least if you pay per square meter, and want the rent to remain as low as possible.
When you close your eyes and picture a startup office, you might think of ping pong tables, colorful walls, big comfy sofas and big kitchens with company breakfasts. If this is what you imagined, you saw the itnig office.
When you work in a startup, going against the stream, betting against the odds, it helps a lot if the office you’re working in support your hard work with elements of fun.
Don’t have a boring office. For almost three years we had a white and grey office, it looked like the inside of a bank. Sterile, serious, boring. We’re lucky that the office has a lot of light with huge windows showing beautiful Barcelona, but we didn’t add any value to it.
When you work with startups, one of the biggest goals is to attract talent. And when you’re able to hire the best people, you want to keep them. You want them to feel like home at the office. Investigate your employees, find out what they like and don’t like, and in the end make the office reflect the people that are working there.