When we moved into this office a year ago, I remember saying “it’s so big we’ll never need to move again”. Either we were feeling unambitious that day or were so liberated at being let out of our previous cupboard-sized space, we were temporarily blind.
Our “huge” office now looks as though we’re in the middle of moving - all the time. There are teetering stacks of boxes on top of the shelves (as well as in them) and there are bags and boxes all over the floor. And it’s getting worse. Every new product we make generates cases and cases of food, every partnership and event spawns more stuff. And the café stock spills over into the office because they can’t fit it all in the kitchen.
I have terrible office envy for the estate agents moving in next door - it hadn’t occurred to me before that one of the advantages (perhaps the only one) of being an estate agent is that the businesses generates no boxes. Short of changing our business plan, I can’t get rid of the boxes, so I need to find a way to manage my nemesis.
Our mistake was very simple. We added a desk space for each new person but didn’t assume an extra cupboard for each person and every new food, or the exponential need for meeting space. We’ve been using the café as a meeting room for the past six months, but it’s so busy now, we regularly get chucked out in favour of actual customers. The ignominy!
We also designed the office ourselves, and I’m using the term ‘design’ in the loosest possible sense. Most of our shelves double up as our exhibition stand - more efficient than effective, and the old meeting table was fine for six people but hopelessly inadequate for 16.
If there’s one thing we’re good at (because practice makes perfect) it’s turning a challenge into something positive. So, I have a plan.
Outsourcing is the name of the game. Bring on a fulfiller to store all our event stuff and manage the mail-outs, and say goodbye to box hell. Then, when we can see the furniture again, the next step is to retro-design the office, to fit in more people, more stuff and more space to meet.
Maybe in five years we’ll all have standing desks so as to cram us most efficiently into this office. That, or we’ll have suspended lots of our other furniture to join the levitating almond drink, flying mouse and hovering owl.