We’ve loved our old office because it was very pretty, and its open layout allowed us to grow from 3 staff to 11 while being very flexible with our desks. We’ve hosted our international team members and had sufficient space to run public BBQs and Meetups. The old office cost us about $1600 per month for 115 square meters – a total bargain.
But also, it was getting noisy once we grew beyond 6 staff. Discussions needed to get planned ahead (or moved to a café nearby), and every applicant who came in was yet another distraction. We didn’t realize just how densely packed it was until seeing the bird’s eye perspective in our time-lapse moving-out-video:
Startups don’t have to use open plan offices
We don’t believe in open plan offices, but we’re not fans of private offices either. In our opinion, every team should have their room, and teams should be between 2 and 4 people. Teams should be able to chat and discuss without disrupting everyone else. Unfortunately, finding a matching office in Berlin is tough, at least if you want the office to be beautiful as well. Most beautiful offices were either too small, or only supported open plan layouts.
But after 5 months of reading very many ads, we finally signed a lease and moved in last week. We’re still busy refurbishing, painting and buying furniture and lamps, but it was worth the wait!
The office has a very interesting floor plan, no room is like the other, and there are lots of wide doors. We can keep the doors open for maximum inter-team communication, or close them during discussions. We’re placing couches into most rooms to support impromptu meetings, and there are several large and small rooms for longer discussions too.
There’s still a lot of furniture missing, and several rooms require renovation and painting, but here are two glimpses into what it’s going to be like:
The price tag is roughly $7000 per month (including heating and taxes), which is quite the stiff price tag for 270 square meters in Berlin. But location and style do matter for employer branding, and doors and flexible room sizes are crucial for productivity and employee happiness, so we see it as an investment. And yes, even as a startup you need to invest, and the benefits of a great office (with doors) outweigh the costs by far.
- The new office used to be a personal shopping area for a fancy clothing store downstairs, and we’ve kept the style of most rooms.
- There used to be an actual bar in the red room above. It was taking too much space though, so we bought a (supposedly) 1830s travel-bar at an auction instead
- O2 wasn’t able to provide internet within 4 weeks, so we’re using LTE for 11 people in the first two weeks. It worked surprisingly well once everyone had turned off automatic system updates…
We’re far from done renovating, but we’ll host a house warming party once we are. So ping us if you’d like to pop over for a drink from the mobile bar!