Here at Sandglaz we're committed to constant improvements: of our product, of our processes, of ourselves and, of course, of our office. This month we've made a few changes to our office layout. Before I go on, let me tell you a little bit about the evolution of our office.
At first, it looked something like this:
That's a startup, right? Then, we moved into our current space last year and happily started putting it together.
We recently ran a post about the ultimate office layouts... and this got us thinking about how we can make our space better. Our office space is pretty important to us. Even though we're very open to flexible hours and working from home, most often we end up working together in our office. There's something about feeding off each other's productive energy, even though we're not necessarily working on the same project, that makes us really enjoy sharing the same space. We spend quite a lot of time in here, too. So here's what changes we've done over the past month or so.
We got a couch
Improving your office space doesn't have to make a dent in your wallet. Just look around the house for comfy furniture that you don't need anymore. In our case, it was our co-founders who could spare the couch. Let me tell you, bringing that couch into the office was a great team building exercise! And according to our developer Simon, it's pretty comfy.
Creating different areas
You can see in the first picture how we used the Ikea book case and a table to divide the main areas of our office. At first, we thought one area would be our lunch/ meeting/ lounge area, and the other our work area. But we realized how important it actually is to have different areas to work in. So in addition to the couch area where we can lounge and work, we also have the more "traditional" desk area.
And we also have a standing desk. It's no secret that the standing desk keeps you more engaged and focused on your work. This is where I sometimes write my blog posts. I find it makes me quite efficient because it constantly reminds me of Hemingway's work practices.
And of course, we have another table for eating and, more importantly, making coffee.
Not too long ago, we also sat down together to put our company values in writing. We didn't come up with them. We just looked at ourselves, our work, what we value as a team and where we see Sandglaz, and then wrote those things down. We just wanted to be able to see the words, to visualize the concepts in a way. So we created a poster and put it up as a reminder. It's the poster that you see above the couch in the first picture, but here's a closer view at what it actually says.
An office pet can be somewhat of a distraction (how can you not look at that cuteness?), but for many work places an office pet can be a huge morale booster. Not surprising, since petting man's best friend releases the 'love hormone' oxytocin.
So every other Thursday I'm bringing my chocolate lab, MacKenzie, to the office. Stay tuned for future cuteness-overload pictures!
Some office improvements have nothing to do with the furniture in the office and how we arrange it. In the end it's about the people who inhabit the space and how we collaborate. We had been saying for more than a month that we should take lunch together. This would force us to disconnect from our screens for a little and take time to reflect on our day's progress, ultimately increasing our effectiveness and creativity. But alas, every day we fell back into the same pattern of eating lunch in front of our screens.
So our co-founder Nada came up with the idea to have lunch together every Monday instead of trying to do it every day of the week. Great idea, since preparing lunch on Sunday is something we can all easily manage. We also have a team effectiveness potluck at the end of every month, where we eat and talk improvements.
In the end, our little office may not be a designer office, but we can be comfortable at work. For each of us, this means increased focus, productivity and creativity. And we have the invaluable freedom to do whatever will make us more efficient in our work, which is a lot more than most people out there have.
Do you have any tips for us as to how we could make our office even better? Let us know in the comment section below!