New Silicon Valley headquarters offer more perks than ever to recruit, retain talent

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.

               
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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.

 
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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?

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7 thoughts on “New Silicon Valley headquarters offer more perks than ever to recruit, retain talent

  1. Really intriguing post about the future of office spaces (and encouraging workers to work in the office). There has definitely been a recent emphasis on keeping workers happy, whether this means through gyms or great food options at work, in an attempt to spark innovation and creativity. This summer I will be working at Bloomberg in New York, and they put a huge emphasis on these ideals. Bloomberg has open work spaces where the CEO sits next to the average worker. They also have free food, and stress creativity and innovation. You mentioned in your post that some say this is a colossal waste of money. I am curious as to whether or not these things really do make workers more productive, or if it is just a waste.

  2. This is an interesting post, and I have only ever been in traditional offices, but I would like to see what these offices look like. They sound pretty nice to me. However, I feel like some of the companies may be going too far. I think employers often don’t want their employees working from home because it is so easy to get distracted at home with other chores, obligations, and recreational activities. It is often hard to both work and live in the same place because it is hard to maintain the divide between when you are working and when you are done working. That is often why college students are advised not to do homework, eat, sleep, and hang out with friends all in the dorm room because it becomes hard to separate these activities when you are always in one place. While I think it is a good idea to have perks and to make offices more friendly than cubicles to entice workers to come into the office, I do not think it is a good idea to add so many elaborate perks to an office because there are too many distractions and it starts to feel like you are at home again and too comfortable. I think it is an important to have spaces that are dedicated to doing work because it is easier to be productive. I think there is a point when the other perks can impede the work environment.

  3. This was a very interesting blog post that made me think about a topic that I had never contemplated before. I was wondering, however, if non-technological companies are doing the same for their employees or if this new style office space is strictly being created by technological firms.

    I agree with the comment above. I think that it is very difficult to both work and relax in the same space. With that said, I think it is important for workers to come into an office, but I do not think that the office should double as a place for relaxation. I think that the attractions that the office has should be desirable but not create a lazy atmosphere.

    I wonder if we will ever be able to tell how much of an impact these new spaces have on workers’ productivity.

  4. I completely agree with the Yahoo CEO that working from home creates a culture of laziness. While I’m not in the workforce yet, I do understand how getting things done is always easier when you’re away from home. I probably get twice as much studying done in the library as I do in my room simply because my room is full of distractions. That being said, I don’t think that office spaces that are for both work and relaxation will catch on. When I relax I want to get away from everything associated with work so I think I would get restless if I was stuck in the same building. I can understand why the tech companies are creating these types of office spaces but I don’t think this work format will spread.

  5. In my opinion, I think these companies have put forth some good ideas, but are taking these relaxed cultures a little too far. The idea of having a gym in the office is something I find extremely intriguing because exercise is one of the best stress relievers out there. Stress is a big restraint on innovative thinking, which is essential to all companies, especially tech ones. I foresee a future of offices in which employers strive to remove stress and increase happiness, but at the same time not cause too many distractions for their workers. If these companies continue to put so many attractions in their offices they are going to make these offices feel more like home, which is exactly what the Yahoo CEO is trying to avoid. You did a great job explaining how these new office cultures are prevalent across all of these major companies, and I like how you posed the question regarding the future.

  6. I think most companies will follow suit with these expansive, all-inclusive work campuses. I believe this will happen because of their proven positive impact on productivity in the work place. I also think this is what potential employees will begin to be looking for out of their employers. Employees will be drawn in by all of the benefits they will receive and perks that will be at their disposal on these campuses. However, I am weary of these all-inclusive offices. I think there is value in the ability to escape work every now and then instead of allowing your work to permeate every aspect of your life. I worry that if people begin to live where they work their worlds will actually become much smaller and more closed off in a time when globalization is key to survival. Not to mention, exploring the outside world can be a great source of inspiration for innovators.

  7. Creating a megaplex with a variety of amazing perks takes a page out of residential design. For example, the segment of customers a particular apartment community targets can often be derived from the selection of facilities that are available on-site. The goal for these particular companies is to provide the perks that would attract the type of talent that may lead to the next blockbuster innovation. Naturally, that likelihood is also increased when employees are working longer hours at the office.

    I disagree with Ms. Mayer’s comment. Many employees are segmenters, individuals who prefer to have work isolated from life at home. Measures to integrate their home life are demotivating and likely to inhibit their work productivity.

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