This may sound very trivial but if you look at the OCC and Headstart mailing lists, there are more people looking for Office space in Bangalore/Mumbai/NCR then people looking for co-founders and early employees. It took me over a month to find our office space after putting this as almost the first priority.
Here are my learnings about What kind of office space you should take, where to take and when to take it. We are based in Bangalore but the points should be valid at any other city too.
When is the time to take an office space
For startups with salaried employees, work from home will not work. There is too much idea and strategy sharing involved in a startup so you have to take an office.
Where to Take Office Space ?
Where you are most comfortable in.
Don’t take where everyone is but do your calculation. We took our office in a place where there were no startups but I was most comfortable with this area of Bangalore and knew lot of locals. I tried to take an office in Koramangala and Jayanagar but had no idea about the areas even though lot of startups are there. At the end of the day, it is all about YOU, not about others.
My Tips and Suggestions about startup Office in India
1. Invest in good office space, you will be spending more time here then anywhere for next 12 months atleast. If possible go with a newly painted office and spend some good money on buying furniture and chair. Never buy anything second hand or rented. Though we got some chairs for free from the landlord, they were brand new so we happily took it.
2. Make sure it is not too noisy.
3. Avoid ground floor or first floor houses, (we are on 3rd floor of a big building) as they get too much dust and noise and have poor ventilation and sunlight.
4. Do not go to outskirts of the city just because rent is cheap. You will be wasting lot of time traveling and will have to search for food and smaller things, follow #1. We are based at the center of the bangalore which is well connected by city buses
5. Ample sunlight is a must. There is should be big windows in every room of the office. Do I really need to talk about importance of proper ventilation here ?
6. Make sure you solve the lunch problem at day 1. There are tiffin services available everywhere in Bangalore (and other metros too) so you should be fine. Avoid cooking any food in office premise (We have lunch services here in office though employees do like to bring their own lunch too as people have different taste)
7. What about tea/coffee and Snacks ? Luckily our building is semi-commercial and it already had 5 offices running so the person who delivers them tea/coffee delivers it to us too. Avoid making tea/coffee in the office, you are better of going out for 15 mins to have your tea and a walk instead. You can get some tea in the thermos too for later drinking.
8. Right now we are avoiding it but having an office boy is a must. We will have it from next month for sure though right now the person who cleans other offices also cleans our office for Rs 1500 per month.
9. Shared office space don’t work. Don’t waste your time unless you are running a courier company. As a startup, you have to have your own office. Take a flat or house, doesn’t matter though ideally for early stage startup, you probably want to go with a flat as they are well maintained, normally have power backup and provides security.
11. The moment you move to office, make sure you get a min 3 hour power backup in the office. (we have APC Inverter). Also invest in good quality batteries too.
12. Get a good water filter, has to be electric. Avoid those Rs 40 daily water bottles. We have small office with few people hence we drink packaged water only though we do have water filter too.
I hope this helps, if anyone of you have anything to add, please add it in comments.