Apple’s ring-shaped, gleaming “Spaceship Headquarters” will include a world class auditorium and an orchard for engineers to wander. Google’s new Bay View campus will feature walkways angled to force accidental encounters. Facebook, while putting final touches on a Disney-inspired campus including a Main Street with a barbecue shack, sushi house and bike shop, is already planning an even larger, more exciting new campus. More than ever before, Silicon Valley firms want their workers at work.
Tech companies are changing the typical office space filled with cubicles to these new elaborate office spaces in order to recruit and retain top talent and to spark innovation and creativity. Critics say that while some workplace perks and benefits are a good thing, the large, multibillion dollar corporate headquarters are colossal wastes of money that snub the pioneering technology these firms actually create. But supporters say working from home causes the employees to get into a culture of laziness. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has gone so far as to ban working from home, and many more offer prodigious incentives for coming in to the office, such as free meals, massages and gyms.
The tech companies are redefining the office space in order to keep their employees happy. There are business benefits and financial results for companies that keep their workers happy. The publicly traded 100 Best Companies To Work For in America consistently outperform major stock indices and have more qualified job applicants and higher productivity, according to the San Francisco-based Great Place to Work Institute. I probably would be pretty happy with all of these perks at my disposal at no cost.
Are these tech companies showing us the future of workspaces where everything you need is right where you work and there is a ton of space just to relax and think? Concerned about the kids? Childcare is on campus. Need to shop and cook? Have the family dine at Google. Dirty laundry piling up? Bring it in to the office. Bring Fido too, so he doesn’t get lonely. With these new offices, where there are even beds, workers could in theory never leave the office. I could not imagine spending all my time in one spot where I would both relax and work.
Critics say the mega-complexes being built today will be hard to staff 10 years from now, and that the next era will see smaller workplaces where employees are responsible for meeting achievements and objectives, and have flexibility about when they come in to their office. The generation entering the workforce today is totally capable of working on their own and being productive. This shows that the push for these large offices where everyone comes to work might not be sustainable. What do you think the future has in store for office spaces? Will others follow suit, or will these large, elaborate offices prove obsolete in future?