In this edition of ‘Watch this Space’ we meander through the idea of the unconventional work space and look at why start-ups and business giants alike have become so invested in this form of office design.
Companies are creating more and more spaces for employees that allow them to break the chains restricting them to their desks and go and be creative and productive in a comfy nook or cranny or by a window for example. This idea stems from a goal to create collaborations through unplanned encounters, be it in the stairwell or at the coffee machine. Providing employees with the opportunities to work in different spaces that have different themes and feelings contributes towards increased happiness, motivation and productivity.
You don’t have to look much further than the likes of Google, Pixar, Facebook and Lego to see how popular the unconventional work space has become. Companies like these offer a variety of interesting features and services to their employees let’s start with Google.
Going from an office putting green and authentic jungle in their Dublin office to beach volleyball and rock climbing in California and a virtual library complete with secret doors in New York Google’s offices have become the focus of a lot of attention over the years. The main goal behind their somewhat crazy office designs is to promote social interaction between employees from different parts of the business through ‘random encounters’ in the hope these unplanned meetings produce new, interesting ideas. These energetic happy offices that Google have situated all over the world combined with their strict recruitment process means they can be safe in the knowledge that they are getting the best out of their employees. The prize? To be the worlds number one search engine of course.
Pixar being Pixar; a company full of incredibly creative and talented people handed over the job of office design to their employees. The animators were given the opportunity to design their own office spaces. They were given the basics and then the financial and fit-out work was left to them. This approach resulted in a whole host of creative ideas from tiki-huts to western town themes. All of this was done with the idea that having a loose and free kind of atmosphere helped creativity.
Like Pixar Facebook asked its employees for ideas and feedback on its new headquarters in Menlo Park, California. The result was a creative and fun office with several features including a skate park and a DJ booth just to name a couple. The features extend to food as well as offering two café’s a pizza bar and a burrito bar again promoting unplanned encounters over lunch for example.
Art is a very big feature of the office. They offer an artist in residency program that allows people to contribute pieces to it whilst Facebook have also offered several walls to employees for them to scribble messages to each other on ensuring that the creative juices keep flowing.
The Lego headquarters in Denmark are awash with colours and different styles of furniture that focus on casual informal meetings. The centre of the office is a large open space with a large variety of work stops such as laptop bars, sofas, pit-stops, tables and private pods. Around the outside of the open plan part of the office are more structured private work areas with Lego display cases on show at regular intervals to inspire employees.
The office was designed with several values in mind such as fun, innovation, imagination and sustainability. The space is also bathed in sunlight which is a crucial part of employee well-being and efficiency.
So as more and more people get their work done in the ‘third space’ be it a Starbucks or on a bench in a park in summer having the ability with technology to take our work on the move has been a game changer.
By Andrew Mairs – Marketing Executive