It can be a tough call for start-ups and entrepreneurs when they have to decide whether or not they need to invest in an office space at the start of their business venture, without having necessarily made any money yet.

Startup founders working in a small office

Office space required – or not?

With the rise of teleworking and coworking spaces, many people are actually asking whether you need an office space at all. CEO of successful startup Alumnify – a company that has garnered a lot of interest in 2015 in startup and alumni communities, Aj Agrawal argues that an office could be “one of the most frivolous expense”.

According to the entrepreneur, an office space is too expensive and comes with ties (to a renting contract for instance) that are just too much considering the volatile nature of entrepreneuring and the better, more modern alternatives such as coworking and public spaces. Agrawal advocates for a more active, versatile, less static way of working and it might be fine for some types of businesses.

But for business owners who are lucky enough to see their company grow, an office space is very much an essential framework and tool that simply shouldn’t get dismissed so easily. An office space is crucial first and foremost to attract talent: this is why some of the biggest companies in the world such as Google, Pixar and Amazon are spending so much money on building the most outrageously cool headquarters for their employees. Creating an ideal and fun workplace makes people more productive, encourage them to spend more time there and participates in communicating a brand or company’s philosophy.

If an office space is important for your startup growth…

It can be a bit daunting to create the ideal office environment on a budget when starting out, but it’s not an impossible endeavour, as demonstrated by data analytics startup Quid.

Quid office - budget-friendly office design
Quid office design – photo credit: Pinterest

Based in San Francisco, the office space boasts trendy standing work stations in the entrance, an impressive-looking meeting area separated from the rest of the space by a giant hoop and translucent freezer curtains, a flowing mural based on infographics and even a cosy library. Traditional sliding sash windows are mixed up with industrial-looking pipes flowing through the ceilings. Wood and metal materials get paired up with fun wallpapers and neutral colors.

All of the thoughtful design was built on a budget of $25,000, proving money definitely isn’t the be-all and end-all in terms of creativity and cool factor. This was also made possible thanks to a deal made between Quid’s CEO Bob Goodson and a furniture company next door that agreed to a generous discount in exchange for its client to be allowed in the office space to check out the furniture in action.

It played out very well indeed as Goodson’s office is still counted in as one of the greatest in the San Francisco area, despite the tough competition.

Now over to you…

So, what’s your opinion? Is an office space necessary for your startup? Why? Please share your thoughts with us!