7 Ideas for a Great Startup Office

Offices have always fascinated me. Much like a house is a personal reflection of your tastes, interests, and style, so is a startup’s office. In 2001 I rented my first office space while still an undergrad in college — it was one single 12×12 interior room in an old three story brick office building on 9th Street in Durham, NC. My nickname for the room was the “Prophet Profit”, which, while wasn’t correct in the sense that I didn’t make any money, but was correct in that I learned an immense amount that later paid off.

That first office/room was very simple: four plain glass desks and chairs from Office Depot, tall glass shelves with a stereo on top, a dart board, four used PCs, and four giant 21″ CRT monitors. That’s it — a simple office outfitted by Office Depot and Dell. From there, my tastes and ideas evolved considerably.

Here are seven ideas for a great startup office:

  1. Tons of natural light
  2. Nice open areas as well as several little rooms
  3. Large eating area for team meals and events
  4. Aeron chairs (used!) and IKEA furniture
  5. Massive LED TVs with attached Apple TVs for AirPlay
  6. Location convenient to restaurants, public transportation, exercise options, etc
  7. Visual ways to reinforce the corporate culture (e.g. a culture book, painted picture, etc)

A great startup office sets the tone for employees, recruiting new hires, customers, and more. Figure out how to make it cool in a cost-effective manner and improve it as the business becomes more financially viable.

What else? What are some other ideas for a great startup office?

2 thoughts on “7 Ideas for a Great Startup Office

  1. A variety of work environments is a key factor in startup offices. For example, in our last office, there were 4 main area types. The main work area was a high-density recovered attic room with sloped ceilings. Not that the ceiling was even 7′ in the center. Lined with desks on either side, it provided an environment to get stuff done. Your monitor was always visible to the room, so you certainly weren’t goofing off.

    Downstairs there was the blogging/learning hammock. There’s really no better place to read/write than a hammock chair. Along the same lines were a standing desk and a comfy chair as two more options.

    A high ceiling whiteboard area with lots of natural light and bar stools is pretty handy. Brainstorming time is a bit like shooting pool for us. Lots of standing and sitting as we quickly take turns at the board.

    Lastly was a carport to pace on the phone while in the heat of negotiation.

  2. Yes!–old doors as tops and clunky old oak desks are banned. For a smaller office when using IKEA products “keep it simple”: tops that match/compliment each other & use adjustable legs that match. Organize and remove clutter: use rolling peds, shelving units with drawer bins,etc. As for chairs, there are alternates that are great…now with padded seats and mesh backs and just the few adjustment knobs/ handles that you need.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.