Start-Up Solutions: #1 Consider the introvert.

Start-Up Solutions is a series that explores some of the common problems I’ve encountered in three years of designing offices for start-ups - and provides practical pointers for constructing work spaces that, well, really work.

 Open office layout at Taykey in NYC.

Open office layout at Taykey in NYC.

Problem: Open plan offices — that is, ones where everyone works together in the same room — are incredibly popular. And for good reason: they’re versatile, economical, and, perhaps most importantly, conducive to collaboration. But while this may be all well and good for the socially-driven extrovert, what about those of us (myself included) who work best in quieter, more closed-off environments? Many of the start-up developers, coders, and technicians that I’ve met — who are all so integral to the companies they work for — fall into the introvert category, and have expressed to me how important it is to create a space that allows everyone present to work peacefully and productively.

 

Solution: Mix things up. If possible, aim to devote as much space to informal lounge stations and conference rooms as you do to open desks. The option to work in a more private, visually quiet area for a couple of hours is invaluable to those who thrive off of occasional alone time. At Taykey and Codecademy, I incorporated hidden rooms behind bookshelf doors — they’re so discreet, people often forget they’re there (which is kind of the point). I also created the Dani Lounge chair in response to this very issue — its paneled “walls” provide comfort, privacy, and much-needed respite from the bustle of office life. I like to think of it as a mini-escape, perfect for stealing a moment or two to rest and recharge during the workday.

 Hidden bookshelf room in Taykey's office.

Hidden bookshelf room in Taykey's office.

 Dani Lounge in Sailthru's office.

Dani Lounge in Sailthru's office.