The video game company Valve has some interesting ideas on how to arrange a workspace. The CEO, Gabe Newell, has been in tech since Windows competed with Doom for the program with most installs. Every employee at Valve has a desk that has wheels on it. There are no workgroups, per say, there are projects. You find a project you are interested in working on, or propose a new one, then move your desk accordingly.
In this way, everyone shares a work space and develops projects together. This commitment to team work has helped Valve produce some smash hits over the years, creating a loyal community/fanbase and developing a talented team with extremely high productivity. Newer CEOs are catching on to this trend of a different kind of take on the corner office, adapting a less-structured office to support a work day that is increasingly mobile and less-structured.
New evidence also suggests that employees like using their own technology, and prefer to stand and stretch their legs. That new data informs decisions when choosing furniture for the conference room or building the desks for the main floor. Read on for how the younger generation has decided to tackle the challenge of designing the modern office.
A new idea amongst young entrepreneurs is to break out of the confining and lonely space of one’s home, by renting a small space in a shared office. Coworking spaces are like big floors of free-floating desks. In Hong Kong, spaces can go for as little as $100 per month. The environment is very laid back, you won’t find a dress code here, but it also encourages professionalism. Entrepreneurs also have the advantage of a literal office space they can bring clients to, rather than scheduling a lunch meeting at a café with questionable Wi-fi. The print-infrastructure management software project Ezeep got its start in a German coworking space called Betahaus.
Social Cam is a part of Justin.tv, a video and photo sharing application. The office is based in San Francisco, and the space is tight quarters to say the least. People are not crammed into cubicles, they are seated four to a table, with space to lean back and catch one’s breath. The office is separated by department, with mobile handling the bottom floor. One of the more unique concepts in the office is the shower. This isn’t entirely uncommon in bigger companies, but Social Cam executives would often shower and shave for meetings in the early days of the company, faking their intentions on return.
Overall the space encourages close collaboration amongst employees. There is a stocked kitchen so people are well fed, and as a result, productivity is up and Justin.tv (which recently changed itself to Twitch.tv) is one of the most-used streaming services for video on the Web.
Meebo has a Meebochinko machine, which is based on a concept from the Price is Right. It’s part of a larger suite of gaming related rooms and meeting spaces. Meebo also uses the four to a table seating method, and it has a built in bar that is staffed on Fridays. There is a timeline on the wall that illustrates when someone joined the company, and the company builds an emoticon for each employee that has been there for over two years.
Meebo is very employee centric. It puts a lot of emphasis on encouraging collaboration and an overall jovial spirit. The offices are wide open, with plenty of room for people to lounge or catch a break from all the coding.
Each of these offices is different, but they all have something in common. The workspace encourages collaboration and togetherness. How you structure your office will be an important consideration when you want to promote company culture.
Kevin is an account director at Online Rep Management and has been working within internet marketing and public relations for over 8 years. Kevin got his start working online in SEO, link building, and some affiliate marketing. Kevin is most passionate about helping good brands become online entities. Read more on Google+ follow Kevin on twitter!