Is the workplace of tomorrow a spaceship?

Is the workplace of tomorrow a spaceship?

Check out Apple’s new futuristic, sci-fi Spielberg-esque, $5 billion dollar campus in California – their workforce are moving into it right now. Logistically speaking that must be no mean feat either – how many packing boxing do you reckon they would need for that?

Does working in a spaceship make a difference to the way you work, what does the office say about the company and which environment produces the best results. I was thinking it would probably depend on the kind of individual you are and I suppose the type of work you do. Would a generation Z’er who Vlogs/Blogs and codes all day excel in an out of town office park by an airport and would a lawyer be better off just working from a beanbag?

Or is it all really about how you want your company to be perceived and not about getting the best from your employees. Isn’t it more about how you can make a statement without actually saying anything and showing your culture, values and visions through the space you inhabit?

So what kind of options are there, well let’s pick my Top 5:-

  1. We don’t have ANY offices 100% virtual. I’m having a staff meeting from the beach in Marbs.

Example: Automattic, a $1billion dollar company who has no office and has no email – there are 400 people in 43 countries who work there.

In an interview with Matt Mullenweg the CEO to Glenn Leibowitz he stated, that Automattic is a totally distributed company, so everyone works from wherever they are in the world. It could be a coffee shop, it could be their home, it could be a co-working space. We hire people regardless of where they are.

We now have folks in just over 40 countries. This has been amazing for the company in that we can attract and retain the best talent without them having to be in New York or San Francisco or one of the traditional tech centers.

”So far this model has worked extraordinarily well, and we plan to continue it”. Matt Mullenweg CEO Automattic

What the company thinks it says: We are progressive, we only want the best talent, we trust people to do their best work in the environment that suits them the best

What it really says: we don’t want to spend the money on real estate and actually who can blame them!

  1. The office park out near the airport.

Example: Tons of them – think logistics, insurance, regional telecom companies, pretty much anyone the developer can find.

What the company thinks it says: We care about our employees enough to have them work in a clean, bright, and completely non-confrontational place. If the space is comfortable and has ample parking, then it is all good.

What it really says: We have just about zero personality or culture (and it’s cheap).

  1. Big city, downtown, high rise

Example: Large financial corporates

What the company thinks it says: We want to attract more millennials who want to live and work in large cities with lots to do and see – arts, restaurants, sports, night life, etc. We also like to see the company name on a big tower or on the side of a giant building. We also want to attract a more diverse, technically savvy workforce while we are at it.

What it really says: its cheaper to have a massive presence in this soul-less area, we don’t want to spend money on real estate in the cool parts of the city.

  1. Common plan! Exposed brick! Ping Pong!

Beer on Tap!

Example: Crowdfunded start-ups, entrepreneurs with a new App

What the company thinks it says: We are cool! We are fun! We like to work hard and play hard! We don’t care about hierarchy here, the CEO sits at the same communal table we all do! And we like exposed brick and beer!

What it really says: Common plan spaces are way cheaper than building out personal offices, rent at the converted warehouse was almost nothing, and truthfully after several weeks partitions will go up or people will start wearing noise restrictor headphones for some peace and quiet or we will move to building with more walls.

  1. Money is no object. I mean, NO object.

Example: Apple’s new campus

What the company thinks it says: We have more money, power, influence, and gravitas than anyone. We can do whatever we want. We don’t care what you think.

What it really says: We have more money, power, influence, and gravitas than anyone. We can do whatever we want. We don’t care what you think.

Which one do you want to work in? Having pretty much worked in all 5 over the years I have to say the Beer on Tap is still very appealing!! 😀