What we can Learn From the Offices of Amazon, Facebook, and Google
From cubicles and dividers to open-plan office spaces, it’s evident that office design has changed. Along with these changes, collaboration with colleagues is starting to become increasingly common, and creative thinking is valued more than ever before.
Each company’s office space can vary drastically based on the needs of its employees. From the layout to the furniture – the options are endless.
So how do you decide which office design is best for you?
We decided to get some office inspiration from three of the top performing companies in the world.
We took a look inside the offices of Amazon, Facebook and Google to see what we could learn. This blog outlines key findings and strategies that you can apply to make your office a hub for creativity and collaboration.
Amazon is ranked second on LinkedIn’s U.S. Most Desirable Companies list, and for good reason. Their 40 office buildings feature unique spaces including rooms for mothers, prayer rooms, roof decks with grills and dog parks, and even game rooms to give employees time to disconnect and recharge.
Amazon selected the heart of downtown Seattle to establish its headquarters, choosing to stay in the city because urban campuses are much more economically green compared to the suburbs. Many employees are able to walk, bike, or take public transportation to work, and thereby reduce their carbon footprint.
To combat the downside of a city headquarters (less connection to nature), Amazon developed The Spheres, a place where their employees can work and think differently – completely surrounded by plants.
The Spheres were inspired by biophilia, which suggests that humans have an innate tendency to connect with nature. A biophilic space to work provides employees a place to inspire creativity and improve the functioning of the brain, leading to innovative ideas.
How To Get It In Your Office
In order to bring as much nature as possible to your office, try to position employees work spaces near large windows with lots of light. Studies have shown that employees who work in natural light report higher levels of energy than those who don’t.
When it comes to the color of the walls, opt for blues, greens and greys that mimic the calming colors found in nature. Desks or flooring made from natural wood can also help to make your employees feel less “boxed in.” Stock up on plants of different sizes and textures, and when it’s warm, open up those windows for airflow!
Photo Credit: AboutAmazon.com
In addition to The Spheres, Amazon also created community-oriented spaces without desks!
You may be wondering why Amazon created these break out spaces. It’s part of how they help to develop creative thinking. With community-oriented workspaces, employees can simply pull up a chair, use one of their standing desks, or join a video call meeting on the go using Amazon’s Alexa.
It’s all about accommodating their employees’ wants and needs, and allowing them to work to their best potential.
Laptops over Desktop Computers
The Facebook headquarters is all about mobility. In other words, employees don’t have a desktop computer, but a laptop.
Instead of having a fixed workstation, a laptop provides employees the ability to work from anywhere in the building. This boosts productivity as employees can easily avoid distractions and disruptions, and prevent burnout by not having to work in a fixed station.
Facebook also has breakout rooms and meeting spaces for when collaboration is required. These seemingly endless amount of spaces are able to accomodate for intimate one-on-ones, all the way to meetings of 20 or more people. Facebook’s office even features libraries located away from distractions, such as walking paths. These libraries are a quiet space where employees can make themselves comfortable in a cozy chair while getting their work done.
How To Get It In Your Office: Loop Booths
We understand that you probably don’t have the “Facebook budget” to design your office space. However, you can create a quiet space for employees to focus, recharge or host small meetings with our Loop Booths. Each of our booths are sound dampening, making them perfect for phone calls, video conferences or focused work. Check out our Loop Solo (for one) and our Loop Cube (for up to 4 people).
In 2018, Facebook added another building (MPK 21) to its existing office building (MPK 20).
MPK 21 connects to MPK 20 by a sunken garden named The Bowl, a space where employees are surrounded by tropical plants.
The Bowl is a great space for employees to enhance their well-being and avoid burnout. As nature is all around them, it also encourages creative thinking and thus boosts productivity.
Photo Credit: Newsroom.fb.com
One of the most noticeable features of a Google office is the bold and vibrant use of colour.
Google chose to make their offices colourful to foster fun and creative vibes among their employees. It’s also thought that Google’s designers wanted to create a more pleasant workspace by using the different colours that represent the colours of nature. After all, a pleasant space to work leads to happiness, and can boost productivity.
Photo Credit: Careers.google.com
Google isn’t all about work, they value play, too! There is always some sort of play going on at Google, be it rock climbing, a group cooking class or coffee tasting, or even some friendly video gaming with colleagues.
It would be uncommon to find a Google office that doesn’t encourage some play, showing us that having fun at work is a great way to recharge so that we can continue working to our best potential.
How To Get It In Your Office
Once a month, try to incorporate a fun activity the whole office can all take part in. Whether it’s an escape room, fitness class or festive team building activity – participating in something other than work with your colleagues helps to foster connection and creative thinking.
Third spaces are also known as casual seating areas, or spaces where employees can work that isn’t at their desk. They can be designed for 2-3 people, while others can fit between 10-20 people.
These third spaces demonstrate that working in a new environment is beneficial, as it puts us in a different environment away from our desks and can foster creative thinking.
What Have We Learned?
There you have it, an inside look of the offices of Amazon, Facebook, and Google. These companies have taught us that a connection to nature, a connection to each other and both collaborative and private workspaces are integral to a creative, and productive office. Including these elements in your office will help to support your employees, and enable them to work to the best of their ability.