Many tech companies take the “all work and no play” philosophy to the next level by providing all kinds of cool things for their employees to enjoy during work time. LinkedIn Australia is no exception. Their newly revamped headquarters in Sydney features a fitness center, indoor BBQ and arcade games, which is pretty much what Google, Apple and Facebook already offer their employees, so how on earth does anyone ever get any work done in these places?
Photo by Shawn Collins
Offices used to be sterile environments where grey people wearing suits sat hunched over computers all day long. Apart from a brief trip to make a coffee or pass by the water cooler, it was an uneventful life and the only bit of excitement most office workers had was when the sandwich lady stopped by before lunch.
Shaking it Up
Modern companies have shaken it up a great deal in the last few years. In an attempt to attract younger, hipper employees, office space has slowly been transformed into a youth-friendly environment where video gaming, hoody wearing tech geniuses spend their time playing at being a grown up.
Modern Workplaces: Campus Style
Facebook’s HQ has been likened to a university campus – it has a noodle bar, an art and design lab, a barber’s shop, a room full of free, organic food, a climbing wall and a music room. The building was creatively designed to encourage people from different departments to interact with one another. Google’s workspace is just as funky. There are scooters and a cool monkey ladder in the Google New York office whereas the YouTube office has padded cell meeting rooms and an employee slide.
Bright Young Things
All of this may seem a bit “far out” but it is the way forward if you want to entice bright young things into your company. So how can you transform your office space into a cool playground for grown ups?
The thing with office spaces is that they do need to be functional. Employees need desks and there has to be storage cupboard space for files, HP printer parts and boxes of paperclips. You will also need space for meetings and a kitchen area. Beyond that, it is time to think outside the box and create an environment where people enjoy spending time.
Design a Collaborative Working Environment
Take a leaf out of Facebook’s vibe. It is a great idea to design a more collaborative environment where employees can bounce ideas around and (hopefully) come up with some great new ones. Setting aside a communal games room or chill-out zone can be useful in this regard. Plug in a games console, bring in a pool table, or leave a scrabble board out. Anything that encourages people to chat and interact is good.
Modern workplaces don’t have to be boring. You may be concerned that your employees won’t get anything done if there are too many distractions, but the opposite is probably true. The more fun the workplace is, the more time they will spend there. Isn’t that a good thing?