We love our loft-style office with its green walls, exposed brick, and rooftop deck in the heart of River North. But it’s just not perfect. Everyone is split up between two different floors of the building. The elevator is always a gamble on whether or not you’ll make it to your desired floor. The dishwasher has been broken for months. The fire alarm goes off regularly for no reason. So, we started looking for a new home for SingleHop headquarters last August.
Aside from those day-to-day functional office issues, our current building wanted us to renew our lease with a commitment of 5 or more years. We needed something with a shorter lease because SingleHop expands, as a company, every year and we wanted to leave the option for growth open.
When looking for a new office space, I started by identifying what we needed: space, layout, and location. During the search, I worked closely with Dan Ushman and Zak Boca, the founders of SingleHop, to figure out the everyday functional business needs for our employees, mainly focusing on:
- workflow of the entire company;
- individual department needs;
- having enough open spaces; and
- having private and public meeting spaces.
We surveyed many sites for several months. Once we finally found a place we really liked, we had to vet through the contract and leasing process to ensure that SingleHop’s interests were fully represented. We needed something that was the right price with a shorter lease term. We were also looking for a sub-lease that was mainly move-in ready, so we didn’t need to spend the extra expenditures on all new desks.
After much searching, we found a new office space at the Ogilvie Metra Station building at 500 W. Madison. Our big moving day is May 28!
We checked with the department heads to make sure that everyone’s space and work needs would be recognized in the new office. There were some early concerns that the new space would feel too corporate, but what we’re gaining in the new space will trump those feelings. Everyone will have their own, dedicated space in a professional-grade facility. The reality is that it’s a cool, open, functional space that we will make our own, complete with green columns throughout! We also have some pretty cool amenities being in the Ogilvie station, but those were always secondary concerns.
Considering the new office space will be very open, we had to put people where it made strategic sense based on energy level. For example, our high energy level employees, who work with a lot of verbal collaboration or need to be on the phone constantly, will be on one side of the office, while people who need lots of quiet will be on the other side. Although a few executive employees will have their own offices, Zak Boca, co-founder and CEO, will be using the same cubicle space as everyone else. In order to create the best environment, we asked all of our executives and employees: how do you work best? Based off of that, we figured out the best layout for everyone.
Now we’re in the process of vetting movers and contractors, preparing the space, coordinating the move, and my favorite cathartic process: throwing away all the stuff we don’t need! We’re also pooling our own resources and prepping our new space with the Network Operations team. Since the office space is already built out, some of our own very own SingleHoppers, Austin Wilson, Andy Pace, and Garrett Murphy, are reconfiguring and establishing our infrastructure so we’re ready to go next week.
While there’s still a lot to do before the move, we’re all excited to relocate for many reasons:
- Location: The location of the office building, since it is partly a Metra station, will make it much easier for our suburban commuters. But the office is still very centrally located in downtown Chicago, so city-dwelling folks can still utilize the regular CTA.
- Security: Our operations run 24/7, so we need top notch, constant security to ensure everyone’s safety.
- Food: Lunch is the most important meal of any work day and now we’ll have an even wider variety of food options downtown. And when those cold winter months hit us again (hopefully not for a very long time!), we won’t even need to leave the building with the train station’s food court options.
- Windows: Our current office space is a bit dark, but the new space has giant windows with tons of natural light to boost everyone’s mood.
We’re really looking forward to more space in general, more day-to-day interactions between employees and departments, everyone finally being on one floor, and everyone having their own defined space. All of this boils down to encouraging an open, collaborative environment that we always want to maintain. And, of course, we made sure to have enough room for our ping-pong table.