Our business has a new home! Before I explain more, let me first highlight our office situation thus far…
When I began BuildWitt, I moved from a lovely condo in Houston, Texas, to a spare bedroom in my dad’s house in Phoenix, AZ. My first order of business was to buy a laptop, so I spent a terrifying amount of money at the time (about $3,000) on a new Apple computer.
As for office space, I worked wherever I found 15″ to put my computer. Depending on the day, that would be my dad’s house, my girlfriend’s (at the time…) kitchen table, a local coffee shop, a chair at the airport, the passenger seat of my Toyota Camry, or random restaurants while traveling.
After nine months of this, my free rent expired. My dad told me I had to move out. Why? Well… that’s a story for another day.
I found a one-bedroom apartment with a small office attached and moved in a month later. I moved my bed into the office, which took up the entire room and took the bedroom area for my office. As unhealthy as it may seem, work is the priority in my life.
That apartment became my new office for the next two years. I’d either sit at my homemade desk crafted from the finest lumber Home Depot has to offer, or I’d pace laps around my 650 square feet of real estate while on the phone. If only I counted how many millions of laps I completed while living there.
Finding an office wasn’t a priority in the first few years of business because our team is entirely remote and spread across ten states. Since we work in nearly thirty US states today, there hasn’t been a need for one central location. That is, until now.
When life punched me in the mouth back in June, I made the somewhat rash decision to move to Tennessee only a few weeks later. While I knew the move had to happen for myself and our business, I pushed it off, fearing the discomfort I knew it would bring.
Since relocating to Nashville on July fourth, my top priority has been finding a real brick and mortar office for BuildWitt to call home. While working remotely has served us well, it’s limiting to communication and building a strong culture.
After only a few days in town, I began searching for the perfect building, and after visiting about five properties scattered around town, I found “the one.” It was a beautiful little brick building along the river in Germantown, one of Nashville’s fastest-growing parts.
Many businesses are stepping away from their office spaces due to COVID. I think it’s a huge miscalculation. They view office space as pure overhead and now a liability.
I view office space as an essential investment and a means to grow our culture, celebrate our industry, and form stronger relationships with our partners. While we won’t require our people to come into the office M-F forty hours a week, we’re going to make it such a wonderful place to be that they’ll want to be there M-F.
After three months of work with designers, architects, brokers, bankers, and lawyers, we finally signed a lease on the space I fell in love with three months ago just last week!
While there’s still a long way to go before we start construction on the interior build-out, we’ve narrowed in on the design. We’ve chosen an open layout with high-end lighting and no private offices to maintain transparency (transparency wins is one of our core values).
We’ve also included a large central kitchen that will double as a meeting space, private workstations to give everyone personal space, and many other flexible work areas from couches to conference rooms to phone rooms.
Beyond the layout are the details. We’re aiming for quirky but thoughtful. We’re building out showers so people can exercise before or during work, and we’ll have beer (from my favorite Nashville brewery across the street) and fancy water/ice (according to HBR studies, water quality is one of the top-requested features of any office). We’re planning to give everyone an office chair budget to buy whatever chair they want, and we’ll have our partner companies featured throughout the entire space.
Is it nerve-wracking to invest so heavily in a space that’s frankly much larger than we currently need in such a time of uncertainty? Absolutely. That said, to get to where we want to be one day, we have to take risks. This is one I’m happy with taking.
Stay tuned for office construction updates, and hopefully, we can have you by for a visit next year once it’s completed!