This is the 2nd part of a post about our big move. Read part 1 here.
In this post, our Executive Assistant, Kelsey, reveals the unanticipated struggles associated with finding our new office, and some advice for any startups going through a similar transition. Plus, find out who we worked with in the Boston area to make it all possible!
The hard stuff
Although I’m unspeakably relieved to be in our new space, there were definitely struggles along the way. Two parts of the process were extremely difficult. One was learning the new language and legal requirements that come along with real estate, architecture, and construction. This is something I’d never done before, so there was naturally a huge learning curve. I had to ask a ton of questions and stay patient when I didn’t understand things.
The second hardest part was coordinating all the moving parts. We had a real estate agent, a landlord, an interior designer, an architect, an electrician, and so on. I had to make sure they were all on the same page and same timeline, which proved to be frustrating at times.
Also, choosing furniture was a surprisingly annoying process. There’s a lot more to it than you would think. For example, in Boston there are strict fire codes that all furniture has to adhere to so it’s not flammable. This means you can’t just go to IKEA and purchase couches, chairs, etc. You really need to do a lot of research before making what you would think are the most “fun” decisions.
We removed a dropped ceiling and had new HVAC installed for a wide open, lighter look. We also brought in two long banks of standing desks and lovely plank flooring (that looks just like real hardwood but is a lot easier to care for).
Time ... is not on your side
The most surprising thing to me about the process was how much time it took. I expected it to be a lengthy process, but “lengthy” doesn’t really begin to accurately describe it. It took about a month to just find the space to begin with. After that, renovations take a long time (nothing like your favorite renovation show on HGTV)! From start to finish, it took us six months to find, renovate, and move in to our new office. For the first three months, I devoted about 25% of my day to focusing on related tasks. For the final three months, it went up to taking about half of my time. In the final week, I really didn’t do anything else, but eat, sleep, and breathe “the new office”.
If I could do it differently, I would have one physical planner or dedicated online place to keep all information from start to finish. If I had known just how huge of a project this would have been ahead of time, I would have prepared myself more and set myself up to be a bit more organized. Keeping track of all the moving parts would have been easier if I had implemented that sort of system from the beginning.
The added breakout rooms mean we finally have places to take phone calls. How novel!
Don't go it alone
We worked with so many great people that helped make what seemed like an impossible task into an incredible result, all within our strict timeframe. We worked with T3, a real estate service that specializes in technology startups and their specific needs. Right off the bat, we knew Jon, Ashley, and the team there would be a great fit for us. They helped us make all the hard decisions and put up with our (sometimes crazy-seeming) requests and needs. They patiently showed us about 20 spaces before we decided on 131 Tremont. After they found us the space, they walked us through the entire renovation process from start to finish.
For our interior design, we worked with Creative Office Pavillion, who helped take our vision from our heads to paper. They worked closely with us, the architect, and the landlord to figure out a design and layout for the space, and then created a timeline for us to get moved in by our hard deadline of March 31. They also helped us choose our furniture, most of which we ordered through Herman Miller.
So what have we learned?