My e-mail marketing company, VerticalResponse, is growing steadily. We're lucky; we've got great customers and great employees. Serving non-profits and small businesses gives us a charge, especially since we know we're helping them survive and grow.
We've been around for 10 years, seven of them in the same building (which I loved). But as a result of our growth, we ended up on two different floors. Divided. It's tough to keep a culture together when a company is split in two. We tried group lunches, but it's hard to get 90 people together at once when space is limited. We also have an offsite company-wide event every quarter and have a great time. But, it still isn't enough on a day-to-day basis.
Recently we moved to a new office so we could have the next few years all together on one floor. I'm a realist; if our company continues to thrive, we'll be there again, for great reasons, the same reasons that split us before.
Through the move, I find it amazing how much little things matter. For example:
- We always had a VerticalResponse sign on our front door in the old space, but in this new space we put up a company sign right when you get out of the elevator, and another pretty large one when you arrive in the reception area. I can't tell you the number of times my staff has told me how cool the sign was. They're proud of where they spend their days, so when they come in, it's great to see the name of the company lit up!
- We had two kitchenettes in our previous space, one on each floor. Both were pretty small. The new office has a vastly larger and improved kitchen with plenty of space for people to hang out and get their coffee. Lots of great conversations about the business take place in there that may otherwise never happen if everyone has to elbow their way to the fridge.
- We purposefully didn't "cube" the entire office so we could have some open space where people can meet, eat their lunches and chat. Remember, we had different groups of people on separate floors, some who had never met! I went to IKEA and got some great-looking tables and chairs, a few couches and some fun bean bag chairs. The bean bags get used like crazy!
You don't have to move to a new office to make it a fun place to work, but having things around the office or in your place of business that your staff can be proud of works wonders for morale!