From Problem-Solving to Puppytoriums: Take a Gander at the Chartbeat Office
We’ve been in our “new” office space for a few months and it’s high time you got an inside look at where your favorite data-crunching nerds spend countless hours building the products you obsess over.
Chartbeat Studios – occupying what was formerly a yoga studio – is a window-filled 12,000 sq. foot space right off Union Square – and we’ll be the first to admit it’s still a work in progress. But thus far the design decisions have centered around reflecting who we are, what we value, and how we work. To break that down: folks are building, brainstorming, and iterating together every day, and we needed an environment that encouraged fresh thinking, diverse work styles, and a whole lot of creativity.
Practically speaking, the space had to support a Chartteamer’s many initiatives: At Chartbeat, someone is a part of several project teams at any given time, and we wanted an office that made collaboration easy, but remained comfortable for all kinds of different working preferences.
Since a few people have asked about our design and decor choices for Chartbeat Studios, we thought we’d share a few key aspects of our thought processes when it came to making this space home.
1. Think beyond cubicles.
The main Chartbeat bullpen is just a bunch of desks arranged according to product and project teams. Our lightweight (and frankly, inexpensive) desks keep our work areas mobile – you can change where you sit depending on what you’re working on during a 6-week cycle.
But a desk is just one of your many options. A lot of us take advantage of oversized bean bag chairs, couches, and communal tables spread out around the office. If the bullpen gets too loud, you can escape to the back library room for quiet solo work. P.S. – The library is also known as the puppytorium, since its the preferred hangout spot for our fabulous fidos.
Pups aside, your work varies throughout the course of the day – and so can your working style – so we know it’s sometimes absolutely necessary to change up your workspace.
2. Write on (almost) anything.
Meetings happens any and everywhere at Chartbeat Studios. So we’ve designed the entire space so that writing on tables and walls with dry-erase markers, (not permanent ones), is totally and completely acceptable. If you need to draw an impromptu product roadmap or just timeline what you’ve had for lunch this week (kale, kale, more kale), there are plenty of surfaces that function very much like an oversized Etch a Sketch.
3. Reflect your company’s personality in things big and small.
Since we’re a startup, we relied on a few design-inclined team members who volunteered (ahem @thisislankylank) to “hack” the space for a few months. We aimed for clean, simply-designed spaces with meaningful details, much like the mentality we have when it comes to building products around here. For Chartbeat that means embracing our nerdiness and making the work we do front and center in our office.
That means things like displaying vintage tech magazines ordered via eBay (geeking out circa 1983), commissioning data-inspired artwork created by our own designers, and framing portraits of every canine team member (if you can’t tell by now, the dog thing goes way beyond minor obsession here).
More importantly, we’ve created a data-driven space with screens around the office featuring Chartbeat data along with other key analytics that inform the work we do. Similar to many of our clients with Big Boards in their newsrooms, these screens keep the Chartteam up-to-date and in-the-know.
4. Get eco-friendly when you can.
The environmental footprint of a 50+ person company can get huge, so a few key details help make things a bit eco-friendlier. On your first day at Chartbeat, you receive a rad, personalized Greensender water bottle – it’s swag that helps us avoid creating more waste too.
Because we have Joyride Coffee in the office, folks typically enjoy homebrewed caffeine in reusable mugs, which has been another awesome way to reduce our trash output. And if you commute to Chartbeat via bike, we’ve got a bike rack ready for you, plus a shower too, for you and the sake of those who sit near you.
5. Get the whole gang involved.
As you can imagine, the Chartteam felt pretty strongly about their workspace – and they let us know it. And Chartbeat Studios was all the better because of their opinions and ideas. There’s a shark head on the wall, a seltzer tap in the kitchen, and famous nerd pinups (SFW obviously) in the restrooms, all thanks to suggestions from the Chartbeat crew. Contributions like these helped make the space feel like it belonged to everyone.
A small but substantial initiative also depended on everyone’s participation. Everyone helped build out the Chartbeat library by suggesting their favorite books. It’s a growing collection of peoples’ favorite books (work-related and not) from which any Chartteam member can borrow. We like to think of the library is a physical testament to the collaboration happening around the clock.
Basically, we’re pretty convinced that you can crush the biggest issues, build the best things, whip up the smartest ideas and ultimately do your best work when you’re in a space that fits right into your life. A lot of times that means making things easier, and well, nicer for everyone here, whether it’s the abundant natural sunlight or the fact that you’re surrounded by the stuff you’ve helped build when you’re at the office.
Months later, Chartbeat is almost fully settled in our Union Square digs. We’ve done everything from opening our doors to people during Internet Week to hosting a Chartladies movie night to getting a little design love from Mashable. The environment is all about what Chartbeat is about – fresh thinking, collaborating, and building good stuff – and that’s working out pretty dang well so far.
Hope this paints a good picture for you – swing by any time!