If I asked you how an office of the future looks like you could ask me back: “Is there an office in the future? Isn’t everybody working remotely?” You are right. But remotely doesn’t always mean from home. The recent rise in co-working spaces supports this hypothesis. We will need offices. And they have to accommodate for our needs.

I have a chance to spend this week in Santander Financial City near Madrid. And I have to admit – I am really impressed by what I see and experience here. The scent of pine trees, lavender, rosemary reminds one of the best resorts on Menorca. “It’s a mix of a monastery and a golf resort” – that’s how a colleague of mine described this place. Did I like it? Oh yes! Would I like to work here? Definitely not… It’s a perfect place for a family holiday, but not for being on the edge of innovation. It feels like a golden cage.

 

Marvelous fresh air, 700-year-old olive trees and incredible calmness of this place motivated me to summarize a couple of ideas about offices modern entrepreneurs need.

 

  1. Be in the epicenter of your industry and network

In practice, it often means that you have to be in the right country, right city and even in the right district. Don’t underestimate the impact of spontaneous meetings during your lunch breaks, evening meetups and even overheard conversations. When travelling in California, we stopped for a short coffee break in a small cafe in San Francisco. There were no empty tables and we joined a table with 2 young men having their brunch. I tried to be polite and not listen to their conversation, but I could not help myself and overheard 90%… They were sharing their experiences with YouTube channels and exchanged some insider tips. When we were leaving, I saw another group of people discussing financing rounds. At that moment I realized that one has to go to the place where her ideas are not only heard but also stimulated by others.

Your working space has to be as close as possible to other market participants in your niche.

 

2. Minimalism is the new luxury

When did you go to a public library last time? In some cities and universities, they still require to leave your personal belongings in a locker and take only the most necessary things to your desk. I always hated it until I realized that it was a secret key to my increased concentration a productiveness in a library.

I don’t want to repeat all pieces of advice from modern coaches about the minimalist philosophy and lifestyle, but – less is often more. Make sure everything that surrounds you in the office is of good quality and brings joy when you use it. You can’t afford to have a bad coffee machine in the office or chairs that literally cause “pain in the ass”.

 

3. A corporate pet might be a brilliant idea

A cat would not only decrease stress, bring a lot of fun and create an additional positive emotional trigger for your colleagues, but could eventually become your corporate mascot. Think of Trello! Its founder’s husky became a “face” of this start-up. There are even anecdotes (still not statistically proven) that because of Trello, the population of huskies owned by developers increased by over 50% in recent years. It does not have to be a dog or a cat. Be original – a turtle, a parrot, fish or even a snake could be an option.

 

4. Good air and temperature regulation are essential

It sounds so basic, but it is amazing how many companies screw it up. I am not talking about a simple air conditioner. It may cause trouble as well. Try to test the office space during different seasons before you sign a long-term rent contract.

 

5. Offer flexibility but cultivate healthy corporate habits

Something as simple as short team meetings with coffee at 9 am every day in a certain area of the office, Wednesday afternoon run on the same route or a “creative” Thursday night are some examples of “team habits” that discipline everybody as an individual and strengthen your team. Be clever! Never ever try to make a corporate run or drink event compulsory. Wait until everybody wants to join it because they love it.

Share your thoughts in comments!

 

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