Our New Offices – An Example of ‘Test and Learn’
We moved into new offices in downtown Ann Arbor January 2014. After six months, the universal opinion is that we love being in the center of Ann Arbor, an active, vibrant place where we can have constant connection to the large network of academics, entrepreneurs and social organizations that are here.
One of the issues facing us in designing our new offices was one that many companies struggle with. How open do we make our workspace? How do we balance the different personalities, workstyles and types of work we do which involves a combination of intense focus and concentration, active collaboration and a lot of teleconferences? What we decided to do was to take an evolutionary approach. Instead of trying to design a ‘perfect’ office up front, we would design a ‘minimally viable office’, move in and see what we needed to change. It’s been six months now and we are ready for iteration #2 (there have been numerous minor ‘tweaks’ over the past 6 months including standing desks, brown noise, low lighting). We have a much better idea of what each of us needs now than we ever had when we were just imagining the space and looking at blueprints. Our ‘pivot’ will be in the way we balance private, semi-private and open spaces to reflect our dynamic project work and our workstyle preferences. Not everyone has a chance to design their working environment this way but if you can, try it. It works.