INK: Under Construction

  • April 26, 2017
  • Kim Mackley

Over the past year and a half, it became increasingly clear that with the steady growth INK was experiencing, we would have to make some changes. Some of them were super easy, like ordering off the catering menu instead of the regular one for lunch. Others were fun, like realizing we’d need a BUS to transport all of us from point A (the office) to point B (a party barge on Lake Travis). Some of the changes were scary, like restructuring our teams and creating departments (how corporate!). A few of them were just plain thrilling, like seeing three locations show up on our Google Business listing (more on this coming soon!).  One of them for me was (and still is) all of these things: moving into our new HQ in Austin.

Yep, that’s right, INK HQ is on the move. After six years at our home in the hills in Westlake, we’re moving on up to the South Side, to a deluxe office in the sky. It is actually on the ground floor, but most of our infrastructure is in the cloud, so I think it counts. Anyone who has stepped into our office-house knows that our space is special, so it is no surprise that the demands on our new space are pretty high and the wish list is very, very long. So high, and so long, in fact, that no such space existed – so we are building it.

So first with the super easy part. You might think “super easy parts of a construction process” is an oxymoron. Certainly, our friend and builder Dave Hernandez would have a few words to say about this (check him out at Roost Custom Homes!). But, looking back there were a few things that were super easy, including the decision to move. One of the first things companies need to do when relocating is to decide to decide. Decisions like this can drag on forever, and the next thing you know, you’ve got seven people crammed into a room that was meant for three. For us, it was very clear that we would be rapidly approaching the point of maxing out our current space, and we would outgrow it in not only size, but functionality as well. Our awareness of this has served us time and time again when making decisions for the design, flow, and construction of the new space.

In terms of fun, we’ve had loads of that during this process. Aside from pinning a zillion pins on multiple Pinterest boards, and the opportunity to wear a hard hat, helping our leadership team to determine the physical look, feel, and character of a place where people I care about will spend a lot of time has been a delight. When we move in, I’ll know that every tile, light fixture, shelf, seat, and sofa was selected with the goal of making INK a happy, fun, dynamic, creative, and functional place to hang out each day.

After all this work, all the planning, and effort, the scariest moment will come when we settle in and get to work in our new space.  What if people hate it!? We’re taking a pretty radical departure in how we have set up our new space to work. The biggest being our lack of individual offices and assigned desks. We’re creating areas for the types of work that people do instead of areas for the type of people we have. So, instead of having an office for “managers”, we have spaces to collaborate and designated areas to concentrate and quiet, private places to take a call. After a lot of that awareness I mentioned above, we saw that people were naturally doing this and wanted to give everyone the flexibility to be in a creative huddle when the time was right, or to be able to shut themselves off and GSD (get shit done). We will soon see! In the end, it cannot be scarier than when we cleaned out the closets in preparation for the move.

The thrill is the best part, and it is happening right now. Walls are going up, spaces that were in our minds are now in our new office. The Austin team has toured the new space (plied with tacos and coffee), our Denver office has supplied us with endless tips on how they thrive in a similar environment at WeWork, and everyone is getting excited about our new neighbors (HELLO SOUP PEDDLER, I LOVE YOU), new routines, and the possibility of working together even better than before.

With just over a month to go (fingers crossed) #INKUnderConstruction is in full swing, with all the fun, easy, scary, thrilling things that go along with growth and change. Stay tuned to see how we land!

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