5 Reasons Why a New Headquarter Is a Management Task
Originally published on April 27, 2016 by Christian Twardawa
Last updated on March 16, 2018 • 9 minute read
Annual increases in sales of 30 to 40% and similar growth in workforce must have consequences. Once again, Paessler requires additional office space and for the 5th time in 15 years moves to a new headquarter. This is the painful side of success.
Below I will use the new building as an occasion to explain the 4 ½ more or less obvious reasons why the move to a new building should definitely be top priority.
1.) Resource Planning
...is one of the primary tasks of management. Management has to predict growth and anticipate bottlenecks by overseeing and steering the factors of production as well as how the factors of production are specified, evaluated and procured. Obviously, buildings are crucial factors of production.
After experiencing such rapid growth in 2014 that the new expansion area (ca. 350qm) was already crowded after just six months, it soon became clear that we have reached the limits to growth at our existing location.
Of course, it would be possible to rent additional 150qm here and 200qm there. But the question "Does it scale?" we had to deny. So we were left with the preparation and evaluation of alternatives. The option to rent a second location in the metropolitan area of Nuremberg, was discarded after close examination. Losses due to sudden communicative barriers and flexible organizational structure as a result of the geographical separation of the teams would have been simply too large.
In spring 2015 after several months of searching, we found the perfect location: a 6000m2 property with exclusive use for Paessler. The criteria matched our requirements for a new location perfectly: enough space for further growth, accessible location, enough parking space, representative, flexible space concept etc...
2.) The Financial Expenses
...for a new building are considerable. There are long-term liabilities. Everybody can easily calculate the dimension of a 6000 m2 office space in a business park over a time span of 10 years. Besides there are further costs for special requests, in case you're not willing to accept the basic standard. For this kind of decision it is essential not only to have the appropriate budgetary sovereignty, but to examine all plans in regard to their long term benefits/usefulness.
3.) Spatial Concept
...of offices, the conference rooms, the functional rooms, the kitchen(s), the bistro and the "leisure rooms" could be transmitted to external contractors. But they are not familiar with the specific requirements, daily routines, employee habits, etc... But most importantly: Contractors have no or very limited insight into the company, its style and its values. They can't know how employees want or would work. For this reason, it was clear from the beginning that the organization of the new spaces will be the task of extended management. Every team works differently and has its own needs which should be considered in the planning and the usage of the office spaces on a daily basis. Due to the cored property it was possible to consider all the factors. In addition, we are convinced that a great working environment is important for job satisfaction and therefore for the success of the company.
Consequently, our demands to a workplace are very high. Bright, spacious offices with a lots of glass instead of "concrete castles" plasterboard boxes, a sufficient amount of meeting rooms, quiet rooms, retreat possibilities for Scrum-Teams, etc... and that includes an IT-concept. The question of 1 or 10 Gigabit data volume was obvious for us as an "Internet start-up" (10 Gbit, of course!).
According to our Culture Deck, "we are building the company we have always wanted to work for" and therefore place definitive value on soft factors. This includes an in-house bicycle storage, space for various sport activities, shower facilities, a towel service and a washing machine. And we are starting an experiment: for the first time in our company history we will have our own staff canteen.
4.) Common Motivation
...in the project team isn't the same at all stages. After some initial euphoria, disillusionment, disappointment, frustration and stress might be possible frames of mind for the involved colleagues.
Multi-dimensional stress-inducing factors are not to be underestimated! The project members not only want to live up to their own standards, but to fulfil the expectations of their colleagues. Soon conflicts with the landlord, the head architect loom as well as unavoidable accidents at the construction site. To make matters worse, the expenses often rise due to unforeseen events which couldn't be predicted in the beginning.
It is a classical management task to choose the right employees for the project and to accompany and to support them during the various stages of the project. If necessary, additional resources (more employees, the IT department, external experts) must be activated to lead the project to success.
5.) You have the right ...
...to party! At some point the new office will be ready, the move was successful, everything will be changed to the new address and the authorities will be informed. Even before the last box is unpacked, and every picture hangs on the wall, the housewarming party should definitely be planned in advance. In the blink of an eye one year in the new building will have passed. Then a housewarming party would feel odd. Employees and management deserve such a party. Of course, we've invited our customers and business partners to share our success and to raise the glass to the bright future ahead. A new building embodies growth and values of a corporation - and to celebrate this fact together is a fitting way to start the new chapter in the history of our company.