Credit of all photos to Pietro De Grandi

Designing your workspace

Yesterday we organised our office. It's not something we love doing, but the chaos of the office had grow so much that it was unbearable. This is not a news per se, but after doing it I started thinking about what it means. Is this important? Is it a waste of time?

Apple might be right: we don't want more cables

The office is one of the places where you spend a lot of time. We are based in Impact Hub, a coworking space, because we love the shared environment, and working side by side with different companies. We have our private space there. That space must be efficient, comfortable, and motivating.

What does this process mean? Is this just tidying up or is it designing our working space? I think it’s the latter.

The fact that we waited until the space was messy reflects a flaw that we are fighting, which is procrastination. We noticed that our biggest problem are related to slow communication, and more in general slowness. Being proactive, instead, brings to efficiency and clarity. Tidying up the office — from my perspective — helps building a proactive culture, instead of a hide-it-under-the-carpet culture.

We are getting better on this, and I think it's crucial to the correct development of Belka.

Talking about "the others"

I'm the classic startup enthusiast guy. I lived for three months in the Silicon Valley and visited plenty of companies in the Bay Area while I was there. Every office implies a culture, every decision reflects priorities.

The office must reflect the company beliefs. Is it a startup? Everything is minimal and lean. Is it a design boutique agency? I expect the furniture and the building to be nicely designed.

Some of the offices I visited got stuck in my mind.


Here I am in Github's office. It's not the real oval office, it's their own version. It's in the heart of San Francisco, in a marvellous building. Even with a fabulous office the company is mostly not there: there's a lot of people working remotely. Considering the product they are building it just makes sense.


If you don't know about Amazon's door desk go and read it for yourself. They chose doors as desks to be as frugal as possible, in order to spend more in customer's care and product development. This has become a myth in company's culture. 
This is exactly what I mean when I say: the workplace reflects the culture.

The workplace reflects the culture.
Amazon’s door desk


If you don't know about Apple's new offices: they look like a giant spaceship covered in solar panels. They look as elegant as Apple products. This is an extreme example, and the less useful for a small company, but it represent the importance of the environment for every company.

This is gigantic

I could go on with a lot of other examples, but I'm sure you got the point. While some details are definitely not part of the company's culture, the organisation of the spaces — even just tidying up — are an important part. They deeply define the culture, the responsibility and the ownership of the space where you work.