The 2014 Renovation

Around a month ago, we decided to begin a major renovation to our office. Basically, our needs have outweighed the last renovation we did in 2012, and we simply need more space to grow. Fortunately, the house the office is located at still has a lot of space to build upon.

To visually archive this year’s renovation progress (as well as to post a bunch of other stuff happening in the office), we decided to open a Flickr account for the company. You can follow the 2014 Renovation set here.

For more than 10 years, our small studio has been its current state. Since its construction back then, it looks pretty much the same except for furniture upgrades and unplanned improvements. We needed something new. And with great joy that we finally finished the renovation just before we hit the new year in December.

Before we started the renovation, we’re quite settled that we wanted something that looks less sterile. Something that looks modern, comfortable, but doesn’t have all the white glaring at us while we’re working. So we turned this (photo was taken at 2007):

Neuro-Designs at 2007

into this:

Neuro-Designs at 2012

With last year’s renovation, we wasted no time at all planning all the new furnitures and made sure that there is no space left without function (except white space, of course. And pardon the pun). Let me bring down the details to the things we did with the new office.

First of all, we hated the old floor. Yes, it came with the house the studio is attached to, but for improvement’s sakes, we opted for laminated flooring. We also installed three new ceiling lights improve the office’s lighting, as well as a full glass door to bring in even more light during the day. This gives our office at least 50% of lighting improvement.

We also custom-made our own workstation furnitures. What you see in the photo above is the result of Nyonyo pulling out his superb engineering and product design skills. Our new workstations were built from scratch from welded steel and reclaimed wood, and it comes installed with a custom-made cable box for neat cable organization. The workstations are now paired with Accupunto director chairs.

Plant Shelves

Zooming to the west wall–which is also our office facade–we scrapped off the vertical blinds for something more functional. Other than the reason that we’re too cheap to buy new window treatments (no, just kidding), the new shelvings practically act as plant holders. And in bright and sunshiny days, it also functions as a passive sunshade.

Toy Shelf

Moving on the the south wall, we installed a dedicated display shelf for the toy collection in our office. The shelf also holds poster frames and a variety of things that we prefer not to hang on the wall.

Toy Display Case

The north wall features a full-height display case to hold yet more toys (trust me, toys are good). It is organized into 4 sections. From top right clockwise, they are the Godaikin section, the Star Wars section, the 80’s and 90’s toys section, and the Transformers section. Next to it is a dedicated bookcase that you can partially see on the next two photos.

Movable Utility Table

We also built a movable utility table stored by the cabinets at the north wall. This table houses a variety of office supplies and stationeries. A pretty handy thing to keep the office neat.

East Wall

Moving slightly to the right, we painted one corner of the office with our signature blue color, added another book shelf to the east wall, recycled from the old ones we pulled off the old office, and we replaced the storage room–which we call “Le Dungeon”–door with a new one.

Le Dungeon

“Le Dungeon” is a small storage unit adjacent to the main studio. It houses our networking equipment that manages the network throughout the house, as well as a small pantry to keep us alive for some time should there be a zombie apocalypse.

So there we go, a quick tour of what our office has become after more than a decade standing there. Not to shabby for 3-weeks worth of planning.

Disclaimer: No, we don’t store little children for snacks in the “Le Dungeon”. If you hear otherwise, that is just simply absurd.

Archery at Gelora Bung Karno

Last Saturday, we went out on what we call our first official company outing (Yes, 13 years in existence and we never had one. Imagine that). Before we decide what we should do in our premiere outing, there are a few things that we had in mind. First, the obvious reason: We never had an official outing. Second, we needed a break from our office routines, and going to the mall doesn’t seem to be quite that productive. We needed something constructive, and probably athletic. Third, we needed to prepare our personnels for the zombie apocalypse. No seriously, we need to. Therefore, the logical choice is to go for archery!

Wanting to do archery is easy, but actually getting to the proper facilities to do it is another problem. Using Google, we found out that the best bet to do this is to use Fokado. We then went off buying a few gift vouchers. We didn’t even know until then that the archery range in Senayan is open for public use.

Apart from the enjoyable experience we had that day, it is unfortunate and actually pretty sad to see that the archery range is very badly maintained, some of the equipments are not in top notch condition, and some–if not most–arrows are in a very bad shape. Not to mention that Gelora Bung Karno has a pretty bad way-finding system. It would be great if the government can put an extra care in this sports. It’s exciting, unique, and it can be a great alternative to spend a weekend for many people.

Nevertheless, this has been an awesome experience for us. Despite that we’re still practically sucky in getting the arrows to fly straight, archery isn’t as hard as we imagined it would be. We just need constant practice, and in fact, some time in the near future, we might just gonna go for it again. But the most important thing is that we now somewhat know how to deal with the undead from meters away.

A few weeks back, we finished the design and printed our new business cards. It’s nothing much, really, except the fact that our old ones are 7 years old. I guess what they said was right, it’s easier to do designs for clients than to redesign yourself (which is also why our new website took quite a bit of time to design).

So, what has changed? Not much, but it’s a substantial move to reduce the clutter of our old cards. Here’s the old one:

Neuro-Designs Old Business Cards

And here’s the new one:

Neuro-Designs New Business Cards

We reduced everything down. The office’s physical address, telephone, email, and even down to our logo. Because we wanted people to actually browse our website, what you see there is just the essential contact information of each person.

Besides, nobody wants to read an insanely-packed information in a tiny business card.

Yes, just like what the title said, starting this July, our office will officially be on a 4-days-a-week working terms, from Tuesday to Fridays, and no Mondays. Our office hour on Fridays have always been half of regular days, but we think it’s less effective than having a four-day work week. Some people asked “why”? The answer is because we can. No, we’re just kidding :)

This isn’t exactly an easy decision for us, and a lot of contemplations–as well as compromises and votes–have to be made. The idea was already there years ago, when we read about how 37signal instituted a 4-day work week and of course, their reasons for doing it. We were inspired by both the innovation (if we can call it that way) and the logic behind that decision. Without further ado, the following are some of the thoughts behind our call for “Mondays are Holidays”.

Nobody likes Mondays
Let’s face it, be it demographically, statistically, factually, or whatever we want to call it, despite of our best efforts to try liking it, Mondays in Jakarta sucks. Traffic is nuts and everybody seems to be on edge on Mondays. Maybe because people had to shift from weekend mode to work mode in a matter of hours. Sometimes they didn’t get enough sleep (which is hardly anything new in this city) and so forth, but yes, we don’t like the general idea. So why don’t we have longer weekends so we can get back to work freshen up on Tuesdays, and hopefully come up with fresh ideas as well? 37signals was right! Who knows that afterwards, we’ll love Mondays.

Most of the time, Mondays are the least effective day in our office
Most of our clients are overseas, in particular, in the United States. Therefore, once we reach Monday here, it’s still Sunday over there. Basically, except for emergencies, we have no work updates, no feedbacks, no emails, and most of our local clients are just recovering from their weekends, too. Why not, instead of forcing people to go to the office for practically nothing, we take that day off and leave people with ample time to do whatever they didn’t get to do on the weekends? Maybe some of us have passions that we keep putting off because we have no time to get it running, and maybe some of us didn’t get to pursue new ideas for the office because of that same reason. So now’s the chance.

The commitment to be more effective
Since the start of this company, we have never require people to follow a certain guideline of work to reach a specific milestone at a specific date or time. We understand that different people work differently, and we allow people to manage their time to whatever that suits best for each of them, as long as they get the job done. Some of us work from home from time to time, and some of us even work remotely most of the time. With this policy in effect, and given that we will soon have a shorter work week, that means we must cut the slack off and push ourselves to be more effective with our time. We think we can manage and hopefully, do things better.

So there you have it, the reason behind our decision which will take place on July 2. A nice month to make a change, don’t you think?

But will this actually work? Well, as confident as we may be, we don’t know yet. We will just have to be confident enough to make a breakthrough and make it work.

PS: In case you’re wondering, yes, in case of emergencies, we will still be reachable on emails on Mondays.