Commercial real estate expert Jonathan Wasserstrum co-founded TheSquareFoot in 2011 with a mission to improve office leasing processes with technology. Their online search technology simplifies the process of locating the perfect office space and adds transparency to the process. Here CEO Wasserstrum discusses the importance of keeping employees in mind when selecting office space.
(Photo courtesy of Jonathan Wasserstrum)
Why is it important for the business owner to take company culture and employee needs and expectations into consideration, as well as cost and proximity?
The main factors are recruiting, employee retention and happiness. Ultimately, if the employee is happy, it leads to a much more productive work environment. Startups aren’t just creating an office environment these days; it’s a work-life hub where employees need to feel comfortable. If startups want to be able to attract the best talent and keep that talent happy and engaged, having the right work environment is a massive factor.
With an eye towards hiring and retaining a top-notch team, what real estate features are most important when selecting office space?
The most important features of an office space are location and layout. The location should not only be accessible by most forms of transportation, but should also offer an assortment of great restaurants and retail nearby. The layout should feel open and airy with plenty of natural light so employees don’t feel cramped throughout the day.
You describe the atmosphere in your own offices at TheSquareFoot as “a collaborative, open environment.” Can you describe the space and how you achieved this environment?
In order to create an open environment that encourages company-wide collaboration, we opted for a space that’s wide open with hard wood floors and 12 foot ceilings. We built in a wet pantry and five private meeting rooms with glass doors so you don’t feel cramped inside them. We also created pods of six to eight desks so that everyone, including the executives, are all sitting in the same open space. This allows for easier communication and more transparency across different departments. In a small but growing business, it’s critical for all members to be on the same page at all times. We also went for a flexible and comfortable environment. We have a few bean bag chairs, couches and adjustable standing desks so team members aren’t stuck having to work from their desk all day long. We even have a Sonos sound system that lets anyone DJ whenever they want through a mobile app.
This article was written by Gillian Burdett for Small Business Pulse