Heidi Zak

@heidizaks

Upgrading Your Startup Office? Here’s What To Consider Before Making The Move

July 6th 2018

I founded ThirdLove five years ago with my husband, Dave. And on average, we’ve moved to a new office once a year.

Our first office was the apartment we lived in at the time. Then, we moved into a coworking space once we made our first hire. From there, it was steady growth and a constant search for new offices.

We were never in one place long before we reached max capacity.

In fact, our last office didn’t even have the ThirdLove logo anywhere. We had every intention of decorating, but it quickly became clear we weren’t going to be there long. This time around, we chose a place that will last us a few years. We’re planning on staying for a while, so we spent a lot of time considering what we really wanted from the space.

When it’s time to move offices, there are plenty of factors to consider. You want your team to love it, but you also want your offices to make a statement about your brand when people walk in.

Here’s how to find that balance and pick the right place:

Don’t move until you’re at capacity.

Things can get crazy at max capacity.

Before we moved, I walked into our old office to find one of our Directors of Product sitting on the hallway floor, holding an interview on his laptop.

That’s not an ideal situation, but that’s exactly why we moved. We had maxed out our capabilities with the current office. I think it’s important to do that before you set your sights on a brand new building or massive office space. And real estate is unbelievably expensive, especially where we’re located in San Francisco.

Every dollar you spend on your offices is money you could invest into the company.

There’s nothing wrong with choosing an office you can grow into. After all, you don’t necessarily want to be moving every year. But choosing a large space early on is usually a waste of money.

If you’re profitable, you can spend your money however you like. Just remember there’s always portions of your business that could use the cash, instead of spending it on 7,000 square feet.

Know how your team works.

Choosing the right space can be a tough call, but it’s much easier if you already have a good understanding of how your team works.

At ThirdLove, we would never choose the standard “corporate office with cubicles” style. It wouldn’t make sense for the way we work. We like to keep the environment open so everyone can see what’s going on with other teams.

While our new office has ten conference rooms on the top two floors, we really focused on creating spaces for people to have meetings and conversations outside of conference rooms. We have lounge areas where small groups of people can meet out in the open. Since some of our teams have to take calls throughout the day, we also have soundproof, standalone “pods” stationed throughout the office.

Now, a company full of engineers would probably have a much different office space. They’d likely want private areas and quiet places, and their design would look nothing like ours.

The point is, you have to know what space is right for you. If it doesn’t fit how your team works, it will end up holding you back.

But if you understand the ethos of your company and use it to organize your space, you’ll end up with an office that offers everything your team needs.

Keep your brand in mind.

Your office isn’t just the place where work gets done. It’s a selling point for partners, new hires, and even potential customers.

That’s why it should embody your brand.

At our new office, our goal is for the new space to completely embody ThirdLove. So we’re building a Bra Lab in our reception area on the first floor. The Lab will have all the components of our bras laid out in a very beautiful way so visitors will be able to see and touch the different parts of the product. Our conference rooms are named after important women in history. And we’ve set up a “book nook” with books by female writers that were chosen by our team.

Early on, we looked at renting some floors in a larger office building downtown, but it didn’t feel right. Those offices were too siloed and they wouldn’t have represented our brand in the same way.

Your brand should always be at the front of your mind if you’re searching for an office you plan to stay in for a while.

Moving to a new office is always exciting. If you take the time to really understand what your team needs and how this office will represent your brand, then you’ll likely make the right choice.

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