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The Bionic Office - V2

By Steve Jones,

Fog Creek OfficeI've followed Joel Spolsky's writings for a long time and think he's a software business developer and owner that is building a business the right way. I'm not sure that his methods can be duplicated by anyone, but there are lessons to be learned from what works for him and I'd hope my company was a much fun to work at as his seems to be. I met some of his employees at the Business of Software conference last year and they definitely seemed to like their jobs.

Recently Joel posted a note on his new offices, which are larger and seem nicer than the previous ones. He wrote about how they designed the last set of offices in an article titled Bionic Office. I thought that space was great, but this one seems even better. Some interesting pictures at Picasa.

So how does your office measure up? Mine is great, all the comforts of home since, well, it is home. My wife works with me and we've made do for the most part with desks we've had for years and less outlets than we need, but we haven't wanted to renovate our house. However after seeing this space, I'm tempted to set up shop in the basement and go all out with a space that's set up for working.

I've never worked in a great office space. For the most part I've been an administrator and we never get choice pick of offices or furniture for that matter. Most of the time we've been shoved into spaces or cubes without any thought to how a better space might help. Granted building software hasn't necessarily been the revenue builder at most of my companies, so maybe it hasn't been valuable to have a nice space. I'll give you a report on the offices at Red Gate once I get over there later this month.

Having a comfortable space makes more sense in some places than others. I think for smaller companies, especially those that require creativity, it's worth a little to invest some profits back into those people that help build your business. Loyalty, pride, happiness, these are all things you build by showing people you want them around, and a nice office space contribute to this.

There are many people that think this is a waste of money. You pay people to come to work, and they don't need more than the basics to work. In one sense that's true, but you are also asking people to spend a significant portion of their week with you. Wouldn't you want them to want to come to work? Wouldn't you want them to enjoy the time there and not complain about the little things?

I think Joel has the right idea with building a space that people are proud of, they enjoy, and want to work in.

Steve Jones


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