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Office office — Urban Company Bengaluru

Office office — Urban Company Bengaluru

17/05/24

We started looking for UC's Bengaluru head office in 2021 and it took us 1.5yrs to find one that we loved. Over these 18 months, I spent weeks scouting through properties with our admin team — to an extent that most landlords thought I was a broker. It wasn't my job, so to speak, but it's our head office and I wanted it to almost take us back to our early days at UC — small, collaborative and full of energy. It was 3 months of collaboration between design and admin teams on floor plans, scribbling, looking at fabric, tiles, and wood catalogs to the kind of lighting to creating a motion graphic video for the reception area.

It's been about 15 months since we moved in and we love it. I thought I'd write about some of the key decisions taken along the way to make this space come to life. Here they are:

1. No compromise on the vibe of the space:

I needed a space where every floor would have an attached balcony for constantly taking in fresh air without stepping out of the building. It also needed to have ample natural light from all sides. There's also no lack of greenery. Not only are we surrounded with trees but we also have a lot of real plants on the floors and some artificial ones hanging from ceilings giving it a calm and productive vibe.

2. More working space than meeting space:

Like most, I'm not fond of meetings. So instead of creating a lot of meeting rooms, we made for the minimum number of meeting rooms required and converted two large spaces for brainstorming and multi-week sprints instead. We also created a lot of telephone booths for taking calls and standing desks all around the floor to take quick calls as well.

3. Enable focus work:

Private telephone booths to do focus work since open desks are not always best for focusing with headphones on.

4. Play and create:

We created a lot of prompt cards for folks. To doodle some ideas, leave appreciation notes for colleagues, Eisenhower matrix and more. We plan to create some more with restaurants, dishes, and places to visit recommendations for outstation colleagues.

That's not it! We got a bunch of board games, Nintendo and Playstation that folks play during breaks, or during after work hours with game nights.

5. Brainstorming rooms

Instead of typical meeting rooms, we did standing desks with barstools for longer brainstorming activities like running multi-week sprints, major releases and testing and such.

6. Whiteboards everywhere

Most of the walls, pillars around workstations are covered with lacquered glasses for not running out of areas to scribble. Obviously, the meeting rooms as well.

7. Breakout areas:

For when one needs to have a quick chat over coffee, play games, take a break. We made sure the breakout areas are big enough to host the entire floor for company all-hands, parties, and even for hosting meet-ups.

Credits: Shalini Mookerjee for the photos • Entire Urban Company Admin teams in Gurgaon and Bengaluru for being partners in making this a reality • Entire content design team for some of the coolest office graphics.

In April 2024, we modified one of our floors to build the Research, design & develop lab for Native. More on that soon.

© Copyright 2023, I guess.

© Copyright 2024, I guess.