As hard-working Americans, we spend a significant portion of our lives within the walls of our workplace, and it looks like companies are starting to pay attention to the influence a work environment can have on the productivity and happiness of their employees.
Here are six companies leading the way when it comes to cool office design that inspires creativity, fosters teamwork and might even be so awesome that overtime no longer sounds so bad to the lucky employees who call these offices their home away from home.
Portland knows how to foster the creative spirit and it’s hard to find a place where that’s more apparent than in the offices of Parliament, a design studio serving print, retail, marketing and digital design needs.
The company not only has a commitment to creativity, but because they’re in Portland, it’s also no wonder that they care about the environment as well, with reclaimed and recycled materials as the cornerstone of their office design. The offices include wood from old barns, re-purposed street signs and an old pizza oven.
Even though the space is quite industrial, the design invokes warmth with cut firewood on the walls and one of the most talked about décor features: a real bear skin rug. There is a mix of whimsy and function throughout, and it’s obvious that the designer digs help to inspire the Parliament team of creatives to push the design envelope with their clean, engaging body of work.
It’s no wonder the upscale marketing firm Hill Holliday takes just as innovative an approach to its office design as it does to its award-winning ad campaigns. After all, when creativity is your game, it helps to look the part. The Boston firm undertook a major remodel in 2008, which was conceived to embody the company’s values of honesty, transparency and community.
The lynchpin of the office redesign was the fish bowl offices of Chairman Mike Sheehan and CEO Karen Kaplan. Gone are the days of not knowing what’s happening behind closed doors at this company. Not only were the head honchos’ offices downsized, but they are fashioned completely out of glass so that all employees and clients can keep an eye on the goings-on of their leaders.
But the executives weren’t the only ones whose digs got a makeover. Formerly housed in tall-walled cubicles, 65 percent of the staff now works in open spaces with industrial elements like exposed duct work and plenty of natural light and glass. And employees receive lots of other perks like end-of-the-month parties, free massage and the occasional mani-pedi.
3. Root, Inc.
Ohio consulting firm, Root, Inc., has a huge vision for their employees and their work environment. This energetic office has a contemporary vibe but is rooted in nature, as evidenced by the repetition of leaf shapes throughout the office and the use of actual tree trunks framing the floor-to-ceiling glass, used for the entryway and other gathering areas.
Following the theme of trees and roots, Root prominently displays a “family tree” that features pictures of all of its employees in its vibrant reception area. Employees enjoy the annual Root Olympics and, in the Dunder Mifflin spirit, the “Rooties” awards. This combination of awesome design and employee recognition helped make Root, Inc. one of 2012’s Best Small Workplaces, according to Great Place to Work
4. Hub Spot
Hub Spot, a marketing software company from Cambridge, Massachusetts, has done away with the corner office and made the most of natural materials and creative budgeting to create an innovative workspace that reflects the company’s laid back attitude; these guys don’t even track their employees’ hours or time off.
The open office plan makes it easy for staffers to take advantage of free snacks or grab a cold one from the fully-stocked fridge. Even as the entrepreneurial start-up has grown the company remains committed to their small-time roots and that commitment shows through in their office design choices.
Moving into a 38,000 square foot series of interconnected mill buildings, they wanted to remain true to the post and beam mill aesthetic while still conveying that they are a hip, intelligent techie start-up on the rise.
With a palette of crisp white and bright orange from the company’s iconic logo and natural elements like birch tree stalks, the offices of Hub Spot are simultaneously invigorating and serene.
Nearly everything about Ruby Receptionists, a virtual receptionist firm in Portland, Oregon, screams green. In fact, they are headquartered in the certified green Lovejoy Building that has almost more space to park bikes than cars. The ladies of this office store their own “Ruby Cruiser” on site for any staffer to use for a quick spin around the block or to go grab a healthy lunch.
With a company mission to “foster happiness,” it’s no surprise that they want their employees to do their work in a happy office environment. To add to the positive energy, the company also holds quarterly games and competitions to reward top performers and they keep “Smile Files,” where employees can keep hand-written thank you notes and compliments from co-workers. And the energy is so good at the Ruby offices that regular on-site yoga sessions go off without a hitch.
6. Radio Flyer
This iconic creator of childhood memories and bright red nostalgia pulled out all the stops when they decided to update their Illinois headquarters. The lively remodel features lots of Radio Flyer’s signature red, along with fanciful shapes and design elements used to echo the wonder and whimsy of childhood, from the rocket-shaped entrance to the employee café to the use of waves on benches and wall accents.
Creating an environment that would foster creativity and help push the company to a continued bright and prosperous future was the intention behind the design, and if these snapshots are anything to go by, it looks like Radio Flyer knocked this one out of the park.
What office design elements would make you more likely to burn the midnight oil?