What do you think of when you think of an office? For me, there are two office stereotypes: the big city type - Gherkin-style building. Glass. High security. Aisles of heads buried in computer screens. Large board rooms. (I’m thinking TV show ‘Suits’.) The second - cement buildings. Cold. Little natural light. Dull telephone rings. Miserable faces. (I’m thinking TV show ‘The Office’.)
In the real world, fortunately, offices aren’t simply type one or two (although some are). On Wednesday, Fast Company released an article discussing San Francisco based company Square, who have designed their global offices in the layout of cities. Designer Chris Gorman said, “We were very inspired by city design -- where people cohabitate, come together, and share things in a quick and easy manner. We wanted to bring that same sensibility to the office.”
The new Square design features an aisle, or avenue, that runs from one end of the office to the other, a coffee bar that is situated in middle of the avenue, also known as the town square – popular for mid-morning catch-ups, and meeting rooms that branch off from the avenue with recognizable street names.
An idea discussed by Fast Company is “scaling culture” – embedding the company values worldwide and streamlining office designs so when employees move from one office to another, there is that familiarity and company culture there.
At Workshare we’re fortunate to have a buzzing office that’s also inspired by the London city landscape. Based on Fashion Street in Shoreditch (aka Tech City), we’re lucky enough to work in a diverse area within a very unique warehouse-turned-office space. When we’re at the office, we’re creating useful software people love, so the need to have an environment that entices both creativity and innovation is key.
Face-to-face interaction, moving around, engaging with colleagues in different departments and testing ideas is encouraged. Small tables dotted around desks and comfy sofas only contribute to this type of interaction. We’ve also tried to capture both the company culture and local community within the office. As part of a company initiative, I recently worked with some graffiti artists, based off Brick Lane, to paint the main wall as you enter our office. The design is centred on our mission “Creating useful software people love” and it’s certainly brought a new life to the wall and office. What’s great is that each office around the world, including our San Francisco and New York base, are using this London mural to create their own version. Our company culture will be globally represented in all of our offices – what Fast Company would call “scaling culture”.
Take a look at our offices and the new wall mural here.