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NorthIQ has been around for nearly three years now. We’ve been a remote company, when I first launched, I worked from my own home office, and when Craig came on board in May of 2017, he worked from his home office – we called them the Oakridge and Sunningdale offices respectively. We have met in each other’s homes, in coffee shops, and in rented meeting rooms.

For the most part, our office situations worked out well. There were times however that we wished we had a shared space. I have countless sticky notes in all manner of places, I have a whiteboard I rarely use, and there are times that we just need to work together. There are also countless missed opportunities for brief chats, quick catchups, and the kind of one-on-one brainstorming that you just can’t do in your homes.

It would also be nice to have a little more space, maybe a little more light, and an alternative to my 15 second commute from the top floor from the basement.

When we decided to hire a unicorn, we realized we would need to work in the same physical space, and the idea of all of us hanging out in my basement together felt like a bad idea.

We began our office search in January, and quickly found out that we could rent a two bedroom apartment for less than what people wanted for office space in the city.

Craig found some information about the Western University Research Park, where we found an incredible office for less than half of what we were quoted for other places.

Then came the next challenge. The lease required tenant insurance, and we would need some work stations, monitors, mice, and all that good stuff. We got to it, and learned some things.

No insurance company will give us tenant insurance without something called “errors and omissions insurance”, which is 3x what tenant insurance is.

Some things we learned:

  • Chairs are freaking expensive.
  • Bad chairs will hurt your back…badly
  • The cost for us to equip a new employee is between $3500-$4500.
  • Our office is roughly 200 square feet. We can comfortably fit 3 people in it.
  • For every 3 employees, we will need more space.
  • The little things add up. Things like monitors, mice, keyboards all add up.

Here is a rough per-person calculation for what we did.

  • Chairs: We went with Wayfair.ca, and bought two mid high back mesh chairs for $270 each.
  • Desks: We purchased two Bekant desks from IKEA. – $219
  • Storage, originally we purchased two Helmer units, but they suck very badly. $49
  • We each have a Whiteboard from Staples – $25
  • Whiteboard Markers – $15
  • 24″ LG LED Monitor – $129 (on sale)
  • We each needed a mouse, keyboard, power bar, power supplies, and USB hub – $105

Total to set up one workstation (not including computer): $862 (x 2) = $1724.00

Then there’s the shared stuff.

Total of our Extra stuff: $850.00

I will say right now, we cheaped out on some things. I really wish we had bought better keyboards. I had a plan to hand build some furniture, but I just don’t have the time, and our desks are simple stationary desks, not cool sit/stand ones (like I have at home).

I took advantage of a lot of bargains, including the picture frames which were on sale at 50% off, the monitors which were $20 off, the router which I already had at home, a whiteboard which I brought from home, and a few other things. Still, we spent nearly $5000.00 before we had even sat in our office, with a third of that coming from insurance.

Looking into it, apparently the average office worker needs 152 square feet.  I’ve worked out of a 10’x8′ room for nearly three years and I’ve been great (that’s 80 square feet), so my calculations may be a bit off in terms of who needs what with regards to space.

We decided to set up the office before we officially moved in, and on Saturday we met at the new office with our wives and families and proceeded to set up the desks, the chairs, and one of the drawer units (after about an hour of build time, we decided these drawers were dumb).

We moved in officially on Tuesday, but a client came for a surprise visit on Monday while we were still scrambling to get things set up.  I had a variety of internet challenges, but finally on Thursday May 3rd, just after 1pm, we were working in our fully functioning offices.

The place will get better over time, we have plans for another desk, and a TV in the space, but for now, we’re pretty happy with the NorthIQ Clubhouse.

Brian Garside has been building websites for two decades and has worked on some of the largest websites in Canadian media. He focuses on creating good user experiences and building websites that make their owners money. Brian is certified in blogging and content marketing from Shaw Academy.