Creating a warm-looking and highly comfortable office space for employees is the key to making them more productive and enthusiastic about their (often challenging) jobs. Modern workplace environments are created from many different elements, for example furniture, sophisticated décor, reliable IT infrastructure, and various utilities, so it’s certainly quite a challenge to make your office even more inspiring, high functioning and adaptable. But it’s a risk worth taking!
The magic of collaboration
Let’s start with analyzing Sergey Brin and Larry Page’s Google. Google’s stimulating and organized workplaces are designed to create and promote effective collaboration between structurally separate teams. In 1950 psychologists Leon Festinger, Stanley Schachter and sociologist Kurt Back found how lasting friendships form. They are likely to „develop on the basis of brief and passive contacts made going to and from home or walking about the neighborhood”. Of course, friendships not only appear in neighborhoods – people bond with each other through accidental interactions in: libraries, college classes, private parties, cultural events and of course workplaces.
Often cited example of such creative redesign is the history of Pixar headquarters. Steve Jobs wanted Pixar headquarters to be a place that „promoted encounters and unplanned collaborations.” But before he came with his brilliant idea, groups of workers were separated at Pixar. Computer scientists worked in one building, animators in a second building, executives in a third and so on. Jobs decided to design a huge atrium space with a cafe, fitness center, reception, viewing rooms and a huge theater, where people bumped into each other, talked a lot, built strong friendships and shared innovative ideas & solutions. This idea worked well and became a staple of amazing corporate office design.
Google offices are always fun to look at. They are perfect examples of workplaces, which ooze playfulness and creativity. Just take a look at pictures from Google’s engineering hub in Zurich, Switzerland. Pure visual feast and vastly entertaining place to work and spend time! There is a slide, which drops employees into canteen area, where they can eat delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are fireman’s poles, which allow Google workers to quickly descend from one floor to the next. For people, who are into games, sports, fitness and body-building there are various fantastic looking gaming and work out areas. For example, one can play soccer or basketball in Zurich office. There is even a space for playing concerts with your promising alternative rock band called Googlers! Lovely meeting spaces include comfy armchairs and couches (for taking a nap!) and even overturned boat for resting and listening. Egg-shaped conference rooms look quite unusual as they remind me a little beehives. Or geodesic domes in frozen Antarctica. You can also arrange a meeting in various different-themed gondolas – some of them stand calmly among snowy mountainous landscapes, some of them are painted over with graffiti in early 80’s grainy New York style and some of them are guarded by alien humanoid. Stylish library represents another place in which conference can be quickly organized. If you want to relax at Google in Zurich, there is plenty of ways to do this: you can lay in a tub filled with foam while looking at aquarium in front of you. Or you can perhaps visit glorious looking message room (with meeting space, of course!) Sky Lounge or Jungle Room are also ideal for relax, or casual conversation with fellow co-workers. There are so many stylish details in Google engineering hub in Zurich, that it’s hard to not be surprised. What an awesome place! The quintessence of flair and joyful style.
All in all, modern workspaces should be flexible enough to provide a variety of rooms and destinations for workers and to bring them together for productivity and the birth of novel ideas. Providing the space, that is more collaborative and dynamic seems to be essential in today’s busy and technology-driven times.