One of the best things about networking with corporate leaders is the opportunity to visit their offices. The time, money, and the thought invested in building a work-space that not only depicts the core values of an organization, but also takes care of well-being of its employees, is heart-warming to see.
Enough has been seen, read and heard about the great workplace that Google is. So when I had a chance to visit both Gurgaon & Singapore office of Google, I was already prepared of what’s going to hit me. From the way we were asked to register ourselves as a guest, to the entire walk down was nothing more than a dreamland. It’s only after my visit, that I realized what children actually go through when they visit Disneyland. It was no less than that for me- a workplace that was too good to be true. Just the sheer focus on making life easy & convenient for the employees was mind boggling.
The free food and the ample availability and range of it, ensured the employees could come in to office without bothering about fulfilling this basic need. The meetings are encouraged to be done via a face connect and hence all meeting rooms necessarily have a video chat facility in built in them and very rarely would you find a phone in a meeting room. The oriental express meeting rooms (meeting rooms in the shape of train bogies) are now a legend, but when you actually see one, you feel like spending most of your time just sitting there. Lego board, theme styled floors, songs playing in the washrooms, it really feels like Alice in Wonderland.
Another office that’s pretty impressing is the General Motors office in Gurgaon. The colours, the greenery and the openness takes you by surprise. Not many automobile companies have really experimented with their office spaces and hence one gets pleasantly surprised when one enters this office. There is a meeting area which is made out from scrap cars, actual cars. Telephone booths are made to aid employees in attending long conference calls and the concept of “Hot Seats” is a sure hit. There are no designated seats there, you could choose to sit at a new seat every new day. There are lockers provided for you to keep your personal belongings in before you leave office. But in case you forget something on a workstation, then don’t be sure that you will get it back the next day!
Cafeteria is also done up very innovatively. Tyre and things tied up to the ceiling would make a very attractive space. It wasn’t an easy transition to this new office space we are told. While the young office look brings with it the fresh and young feel, the core values and historical journey of the brand couldn’t be ignored. Hence, all the sample designs, ideas, concepts were first shared with senior stakeholders of the organization because with the new building was coming the new way of working as well.
So, from these two innovative workplaces, here’s what we know works:
Make things practical and not necessarily swanky for employees
- Use space wisely, the workstation boundaries at GM had oxygen generating plants in it
- If you are doing something cool, then make sure its engaging for employees and visitors. Lego Board at Google is used by clients to make their logos and company names. The receptionist at Google would graciously accept your request to click photographs with the Google logo behind her seat. In fact, she would suggest poses you could strike!
- Ensure the workplace depicts what you stand for. At GM, there is model of an engine right on the entrance and the rare cabins have models of all types of GM cars. Both things tell you very clearly you are inside the office of an automobile giant
- If you are changing the way your existing office looks, then make sure that all relevant stakeholders are aligned to the change
We’ll keep updating you with the innovative offices we visit. If you would like to read about them then don’t miss our updates.