We were in our previous office space for 5 and a half years. During that time we saw our company grow from 12 to almost 50 employees. While we really enjoyed our old office space, our team was scattered across 3 separate spaces. This posed a challenge for communication and collaboration between the different teams. So last summer I started looking for a new office that would not only allow us to continue to grow but also provide us with a more collaborative workspace.
In September 2016, we found a new office building that, with some work, met all of our needs with the best part being that it would be our own. From there, we started the renovation and customization of the space.
We had a long list of items we wanted in the new space including:
- Teams sitting together
- A bigger device room
- More conference rooms
- An outside seating area
- A quieter neighborhood with less traffic
- More bike storage (1 out of 3 employees are bike commuters with even more during the summer)
- A gym for the team
- A dedicated PC room for testing
- More available parking
- More natural light
The first step was to demolish the interior of the new building. That process took about 3 weeks.
Once the space was completely cleared out, we had the entire electrical system replaced. In addition, the building was rewired with a completely new fiber-optic network. We installed 4 different hotspots on the main and lower level of the building to cover our 7,200 sq ft of space.
The interior of the building was replaced from top to bottom. One of the most important rooms for us is the mobile device room where we store all of our mobile devices. The mobile device room is a secure room where we can charge and easily access our Android and iOS devices during the day while we test. We recently wrote a blog post about it, you can find it here: Discover Our Device Library.
Next we designed and built work spaces for our 4 different on-site teams based on the projects they work on. We built new half walls throughout the main level that were the perfect height to provide some privacy but still allow people to easily see each other and communicate.
The main level includes our main conference room. It’s a great space to host team meetings and meet with clients. We used color tones that tied in our company logo: black, white and orange.
We also wanted to create an open space where people could hang out during lunch time and after hours so we knocked down more walls to make it happen.
While our entire team works on the main level, we decided the lower level should have meeting rooms, a PC lab, gym, kitchen and bathrooms. We designed each of the meeting rooms and assigned them a different color so they can be easily identified and reserved.
The RED Room:
Our Lego YELLOW Room:
We originally created a Lego room in our previous office space. The room was so popular that we decide to recreate one in this new space. It’s used by the team for one-on-one meetings and also by employees’ kids when they come to hang out at the office.
PLUS QA Gym:
Last year when we hired our new Operations Manager, during the interview she asked us where the closest gyms in the area were located. Since there were not any gyms close by we decided to create our own. The gym gets good use by the team. People usually work out early morning, around lunchtime or after hours.
We previously had a kitchen that was open to the rest of the office. We wanted to create a place in the new office where people could sit down and enjoy lunch or breakfast. The kitchen is now a great place where people gather and interact and be separate from the work area.
Exterior Lunch Spot & Bike Storage
Working in a semi-residential neighborhood is quite a change compared to our last location in an industrial zone. Each of the new neighbors we met were happy to see a small business occupy this space without drastically changing the footprint of the building. Not only is this area nice and quiet, we are only a couple blocks away from Burnside, one of the main streets in Portland. Burnside has a lot of options for restaurants, bars and shops. We are also one block away from a major bike route. Since we have moved, the team has happily welcomed the change.
When we first got the keys for this building I had a vision in mind. 6 months later we moved into the building after spending our evenings and weekends working on this space. It has been a great adventure and it’s a pretty amazing feeling to see people from PLUS QA working and living in this space everyday. I am proud of our space and I think what we’ve done here is quite exceptional. Now that the interior is over, the next step is improving the exterior of the building and we will be working on that over the summer. I think this building reflects the image of our company which is to always strive to make things better.