For some people it is a cubicle in a fluorescent lighted space with beige walls and grey furniture. For others it is the comfort of their home with homemade lunch and, hopefully, a power nap. Or it could be a coffee shop (the so called coffice) and the smell of freshly brewed coffee. Yet, for some people it is fun slides, play and relax areas, museum like spaces, nature surroundings, vivid colors, bike paths and many more. Yes, right, the office space.
It is not surprising that almost all of the most creative, innovative and designer offices belong to tech companies. The workforce demand there is so fierce, that tech companies need to use each available opportunity to attract and retain talent. And as most HR expert will confirm, salary is far not the single and most important productivity and creativity booster, so remarkable offices come to play a significant role in employees` motivation and morale.
Below is just a sample list of my personal top 5 out of hundreds of truly extraordinary and top-notch offices.
- Google, London, Tel Aviv, Moscow, etc.
No cool office list goes without mentioning the tech giant. Google is known for innovation and creativity, and their offices are just another proof of the latter. In fact, it is exactly employee creativity and motivation – quite typical for Google staff – that are boosted by the relaxing yet playful office space. They often use the colors of their logo in the office design, provide free food three times a day, and encourage you to use the slide to get to where you are headed. Well done, Google.
Still, it is not only experimenting they are good at, but also respecting identity as a company and a culture. Google`s Israeli office for example is constructed to confirm that, as it includes a heritage floor designed with local second hand objects representing their identity values.
Google Moscow office is also typical Google, plus a lot of local Russian identity with the ultimate aim to reflect warmth and family, and to some extent home. It is not designed in the typical Google logo bright colors as many other offices, but instead it uses soft, nature like colors, to recreate a cozy atmosphere.
- Selgas Cano, Madrid
My personal favorite so far, the Selgas Cano Architecure office is truly extraordinary with the fact that it is located directly in the woods. This one does not focus on slides, cafeterias and playrooms, but it favors the pure serenity of a forest, clean air and a feeling of total relaxation. Part of the office space is located underground, yet the view to the trees and plants above makes you feel like you are on your weekend stroll in the park. Green, fresh, amazing.
- Facebook, Menlo Park and NY
Facebook is a phenomenon on many levels. Online social interaction will never be the same again, just like the old Sun Microsystems offices in Palo Alto. You can skate and DJ there, or just enjoy the underestimated privacy of the huge open spaces. Their NY office is not any less – funny meeting room names, free food, comfy beanbag chairs, inspirational slogans, and let`s not forget it – the Facebook Wall. The Guests at Facebook are welcome to write something on the Wall and many celebrities like Madona have already done so.
- LEGO, Denmark
Bright, colorful open spaces, slides, playful areas and of course lego everywhere – this is the Lego office. It all aims at increasing productivity and most of all, creativity while playing, which is basically what lego is all about. You can never get bored there, unless you are bored of play.
- Zappos, Las Vegas
Zappos is more or less the largest online shoe retailer. Zappos HQ office is in fact made of cubicles unlike any other company on a cool-offices-list, but what`s special is that each cubicle is designed and decorated by the employee who works there. Same applies to the meeting rooms that are designed by the respective department. This is not only an impressive way to stimulate employee creativity, but also a great approach to provide unique and diversified design of the space.