Question: What's one tip you'd give to an entrepreneur who is designing a new office space that promotes a collaborative company culture? (e.g. ping pong tables, cool meeting rooms, cubicles, etc.)
Create an Open Work Space
"Create an open work space. We have one conference room for the occasional meeting, but otherwise, we have a wide open workspace. The team invests in headphones when they are heads-down, but the openness promotes collaboration between all areas: engineering, marketing, content, etc."
Keep Everything Configurable
"Ditch the large conference tables that's too heavy to move, and keep everything small, nimble, and configurable. When we had our office, we kept the floor plan open with configurable desks and shelves. That way, the teams can build their own working area or collaborating space based on their needs at the moment."
Ban the Cubicle for Video Games
"We recently completed an office renovation to create an open office environment with no walls. It promotes interaction among the team throughout the day and tends to keep the environment positive and energetic. We also have an arcade game (NBA Jam), an XBox, regularly grill out, and play street hockey as a team."
Make It Fun Somehow!
"I encourage any type of fun in the workplace, so my recommendation is to set up the office environment to enable this. Set up a break room that’s actually a fun/learning room, with ping pong tables and learning tools like training courses, books, etc."
Grab That IdeaPaint
"In order to extract everyone's creative side, equip your office walls with IdeaPaint (http://www.ideapaint.com/), which is a wall paint that serves as a whiteboard. Not only is it fun to have around, it looks sleek, and inspires the entire office to share their ideas wherever they want to."
Put In a Kitchen
"Put in as much of a kitchen as you can manage and encourage your employees to use it. Whether it's at home or in the office, people naturally congregate around food. A good kitchen, usable for more than just storing and eating lunches, can be a great opportunity for collaboration."
Focus on Tribal Tools
"It's easy to put in cool stuff like ping pong tables, video games, etc. But, remember that "cool" can only go so far. What most people are looking for is to be a part of something, part of a tribe that is going toward as specific mission. Build things into your space that bring the tribe together: community chalkboard, a manifesto display, quirky pics of staffers on a wall, etc."
One Entrance Only
"As your company grows, it becomes harder for everyone to know each other. Ensure that there's a single entrance/exit that everyone is expected to go through. We've seen this at Zappos, Weiden + Kennedy and others. Bloomberg L.P. takes a similar approach -- they offer free food, but all of the food is on one central floor instead of a variety of kitchens. The goal should be serendipitous meetings!"
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