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Designing New Office Floor

Well, I am pretty much late writing about this but I love this subject (Designing Office Spaces) so I will do it in any case.

I am very proud of the brief I gave to our architect for building a new floor of Digicorp office back in 2014. We wanted more space for our team members (about 89 at that time) and we decided to build a new floor after a few considerate discussions. I was made incharge of the project.

It was a chance for me to create something new, innovative and fresh. It was a new floor so in terms of interiors, there were little or no restrictions.

Our office building is very old (> 45 years) and it is located in the heart of the city. Still it is very quiet here and I love it. I didn’t want to break the sanctity of the place from outside but from inside, I was free to do anything. I wanted that surprise factor when someone enters the new floor after seeing our office from outside (not at all impressive).

Also I am a big fan of Joel Spolsky and his Bionic Office and Fog Creek’s new office. So some ideas are simply stolen from his articles, some are new, some are inspired.

One of the architects told me that this is the best brief she has ever received from a client! Well, it made my day. So without further ado, here is the brief I gave.

Hi Amrita,
Please find Digicorp’s existing and projected team strengths attached.

Here is our brief for the new office:

1. Digicorp is known as a great place to work and this new office should fortify that perception.

2. The design should be timeless as we are looking to spend at least next 5 years of our lives in it. 🙂

3. There’s a lot of evidence that the right kind of office space can improve programmer / designer productivity.

4. Having drop-dead gorgeous, windowed offices makes it a lot easier to recruit the kinds of superstars that produce ten times as much as the merely brilliant software developers. If I have to compete at Ahmedabad salaries, I’m going to need those superstars, so when people come in for an interview, I need to see their jaws on the floor.

5. It’s about drama. Hey, this is my job; this is where I spend my days; it’s my time away from my friends and family. It better be nice.

6. Programmers need lots of power outlets. They should be able to plug new gizmos in at desk height without crawling on the floor.

7. We need to be able to rewire any data lines (phone, LAN, cable TV, etc.) easily without opening any walls, ever.

8. When you’re working with a monitor all day, you need to rest your eyes by looking at something far away, so monitors should not be up against walls.

9. The office should be a hang out: a pleasant place to spend time. If you’re meeting your friends for dinner after work you should want to meet at the office.

As Philip Greenspun (a great man in our world) bluntly puts it:

Your business success will depend on the extent to which programmers essentially live at your office. For this to be a common choice, your office had better be nicer than the average programmer’s home. There are two ways to achieve this result. One is to hire programmers who live in extremely shabby apartments. The other is to create a nice office.

10. Conference rooms

– 2 with capacity of around 8–10 people
– 2 with capacity of around 4–6 people
– 2 with capacity of 2–3 people (private spaces)

Bigger conference rooms need projector, a wall to project, PC, whiteboard. They can be in a lounge format. It would be great if we can reuse existing table and sofas.

11. Accountant office should be with lot of storage and at least 2–3 people should be able to sit in a office and work together. Preferably it should be beside director’s office.

12. We are 4 directors and we would like to sit together in one private office. Nothing fancy, same environment as others.

13. We may give some personal area (not necessarily private offices) to Project Managers who are seniors. Not a must but nice to have.

14. Principal Designer — leader of design team will sit with team only so we may not need a separate designated area for the same.

15. We are a very flat organisation, so let’s keep the same spirit with new design.

16. Programmer’s table should be at least 3 ft’ wide and they should have ample space to push back their chair. No need to have separate keyboard drawers. We all have flat screens and keyboard can be put on the same surface with monitors. Thought monitors should be on a slightly higher altitude ergonomically. But hey, you are an expert here!

17. Separate washrooms for ladies and gentlemen which is not the case right now. We have around 14 female employees right now.

18. We will need more space for network admins as current server room is not enough.

19. Budget is 20 lacs for re-doing the second floor. We will allocate a separate budget for the first floor. May be another 10 lacs as we just have to do interiors? You can tell me more about that.

20. Create something beautiful and useful which you put in a portfolio to show to your potential clients.

Phew, I guess, this is a good brief. Hope not too much 🙂

Rest assured you will be given 100% free hand as far as our regular operations don’t get disturbed and of course we remain in our budget.

Let me know when we are meeting next!

And here is the outcome.

So what do you think?

  • Posted on December 26, 2017

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