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Company: Updater, New York, NY USA
Nomination Category: Achievement in Workplace Design - for up to 100 Employees

Entry Title: Workplace Design — Updater

Achievement Essay

Updater is a company that builds technology to streamline the process of moving for over 45 million Americans that move each year. Last year, Updater helped over 1M households move and is on track to capture nearly 15% market share in the coming months.

Last year, while adding team members left and right, we quickly outgrew our office in the Flatiron District of NYC. We needed a larger space that would accommodate not only our current team but would also give us the flexibility to grow in the future. We wanted our office to be more than just a space to work, but a home that could both inspire creativity and maximize productivity. Our new office needed to reflect not only our mission as a company but also our commitment to our employees.

After much planning and hard work, in early 2017 we moved into a 10,000-square-foot space on the top floor of 19 Union Square West, on the edge of bustling Union Square Park. Our new space welcomes you in with warm colors, natural light from all angles, plants, creative artwork, and – most importantly – friendly people. If a visitor is waiting for a meeting in reception, it’s not uncommon for multiple team members to go over and introduce themselves. Our team is naturally friendly, but the design of the new office definitely facilitates additional human interaction.

In order to achieve a “wow” factor, we knew we needed to bring in the big guns, so we hired Carly Jacobson of TPG Architecture whose resume includes Spotify’s New York City office. We also commissioned a famous artist, Greg Kletsel, to create a custom mural for our space. Greg had previously worked with New Yorker, ESPN, and The New York Times, so we were confident that his creativity and style would reflect the evolution of Updater’s brand. He did not disappoint! Not only has the mural become a centerpiece by which we love to sit and work, it's a reminder of why we love working at Updater and the mission that keeps us moving forward.

Beyond the visual design of the Updater space, we were tasked with making our remote employees feel, well, less remote. Just because you work from home, doesn’t mean you should feel disconnected from the rest of the team. In order to accomplish this, we built out a state-of the- art video conferencing system, invested in messaging apps, and gave each remote employee a budget to improve the tech in their own home offices.

We also wanted the new office to facilitate our recruiting process. Updater employees are creative and collaborative — with our open floor plan, that’s easier for both visitors and potential candidates to see. The extra square footage also allows us the space for perks that people hope for when joining a startup — beer on tap, a ping pong and a foosball table, and an abundant snack bar. We even have space to host an Updater Book Club, Family Nights, and happy hours.

Last year, Updater was named one of the best places to work in NYC by Crain’s New York. Our third-place overall award and our first-place ranking for tech companies were revealed shortly before our company made its big move. We believe, however, that our new office further solidifies our company’s commitment and dedication to its employees.

When building out our office, we constantly examined the bottom line and how much were we spending. Ultimately, we realized that the bottom line needed to take into account all of the benefits mentioned above; a new office is so much more than an investment in a bigger space to facilitate a growing team, it's an opportunity to invest in your company on all fronts.

Achievement Summary

What we’re most proud of:
-10,000 square feet of open office space with eight conference rooms and room for 75 employee work stations
-Multiple lounge areas to conduct meetings, chat with visitors, and bond with co-workers
-Beautiful design details such as handcrafted stools by Cord Industries in the UK and custom mill and steelwork
-No corner offices. Everyone deserves sunshine at Updater!
-Beautifully-curated plants bring the great outdoors inside.
-A million dollar view of Union Square Park
-Situated just steps from the NYC MTA (Union Square is a huge subway hub) and a three day- a-week farmers’ market.
-A plethora of healthy, organic, and allergy-friendly snacks and meals
-Stadium seating for team announcements and monthly town halls
-A custom mural that depicts Updater’s exciting journey

Links:

https://www.officelovin.com/2017/01/26/look-inside-updaters-new-nyc-headquarters/
https://officesnapshots.com/2017/04/11/updater-offices-new-york-city/
http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20170125/REAL_ESTATE/170129918/updater-is-opening-a-9200-square-foot-officeat-19-union-square-west
https://www.bizjournals.com/newyork/news/2017/02/14/moving-service-updater-celebrates-new-hq.html
http://rew-online.com/2016/05/12/relocation-co-updater-makes-its-own-move-to-union-square/

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