Picture this – indoor slides, bowling alleys, free food, and nap rooms. Are you imagining some type of amusement park paradise? Think again. This is what your office might look like if you ended up working for some of the world’s most successful companies!
A traditional office composes of cubicles, corded phones, and neutral wall colors. But disruptors like Google, Facebook, Airbnb, and Dropbox have adopted offbeat approaches to motivate and inspire workers. Their offices prove that working in creative spaces can help spark multi-million or multi-billion dollar ideas!
How do nap rooms and ping pong tables increase productivity? There is no linear guideline on what kind of offices or environments inspire the most productivity. However, unorthodox office designs demonstrate that companies are willing to trust their employees with creative freedom. The understanding is that every individual has different work styles. Relaxed rules such as a casual dress code, no set limits for breaks, or working from home can help decompress, reenergize, promote a healthier work life, and increase morale and productivity. Highly adaptable and flexible companies have a higher chance of retaining employees.
Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, is perhaps the most famous and “coolest” office of them all. It is famous for its staff perks, including free food, gym memberships, indoor slides and ball pits. They even have a “jolly good fellow,” whose sole role is to keep employees happy and improve productivity.
The lesson: Offering employees perks demonstrates employer gratitude. Ensuring your employees are happy makes work more enjoyable, motivates employees to be more productive and increases loyalty.
According to Fast Company, employers that support healthy habits have employees that are eight times as dedicated and three-and-a-half times more innovative and creative. Besides, six out of 10 employees state they would come up with more creative suggestions if they were rewarded for them.
“The environment influences human behavior,” says Frederik Pferdt, Global Program Manager for Innovation and Creativity. “If you want to encourage creativity, wild ideas, and moonshot thinking, you should create that exact environment that helps you achieve that.”
Dropbox is an online file hosting service. It offers an online housing space for client’s online data and the company’s actual office space is just as roomy. The interior of their Martin Place office in Sydney, Australia, has an open-concept. Its office reminds employees of a home with plants, bookshelves that include “work family photos” and light drapery to give it that homey feel. “The concept is to bring the home into the workplace,” said Deeps De Silva, head of marketing APAC & Japan, to news.com.au. “The hours you spend in the office are significant, and we wanted an environment people to feel comfortable in. When people come to work in the morning, they traditionally go straight to their desk, but everyone comes here and has breakfast together,” said De Silva. “It’s a nice starting point.” Dropbox’s idea is to create an environment to foster and fuel collaboration and creativity.
“The hours you spend in the office are significant, and we wanted an environment people to feel comfortable in. When people come to work in the morning, they traditionally go straight to their desk, but everyone comes here and has breakfast together.”
Airbnb helps people host travelers from all over the world so, naturally, their Surry Hills office in Australia centers around travel. Their County Manager Sam McDonagh said, “Our new Sydney office captures what we value as a company – creativity, travel, and thoughtful design… At Airbnb, we want to create the sense of travel when we welcome people into our office. We’ve achieved this in all our offices by creating rooms inspired by the most unique places you can stay at on Airbnb.” Airbnb’s global office designs inspire employees to be more mobile and work wherever they want as if they were in the comfort of their own home. At this office, every visitor and worker will “truly experience a different place.”
Many companies and non-profits especially, are also witnessing the rise of a shared office space or creative spaces. George Brown College in Toronto has partnered with the Social Innovation Hub. It provides students, start-ups or non-profits that have little funding with the opportunity to share a workspace that allows creative freedom, mobility and discussions. The project allows budding entrepreneurs to apply their ideas and test them in the real-world.
Photo Credits - Featured Image: customspaces.com Photo Credits - Google Offices: officesnapshots.com Photo Credits - Dropbox Offices: customspaces.com Photo Credits - Airbnb Offices: James Horan
Veronica Pang | The Edge Blog