Offices have a reputation for being bland and boring. Cubicles, white walls, a water cooler where employees can gather to gossip – what else does a corporate space need? As it turns out, a lot. Many of the world's biggest companies are shunning old design stereotypes in favor of offices that are as fun as they are functional. While their choices of décor may seem bizarre, expensive, and even distracting, the reasoning behind the shift is as well thought-out as a Fortune 500 business model.
You see, businesses are directly impacted by the way their office space is designed. From employee retention to creativity, task performance to error rate, space matters. It's the same reason Don Draper gave his employees long lunches and lots of breaks – the human brain simply isn't wired to perform 9 to 5, Monday through Friday. Some of our best ideas come to us while working out, chatting with a friend, or even dreaming. By providing employees with a comfortable, homey environment, as well as freedom over their workflow, companies have seen success, again and again.
Don't believe me? Check out this list of the world's 11 coolest (and most productive!) offices from around the world. Google, Facebook, Airbnb … they're companies you'll recognize as successful and fast-growing. After seeing what their workspace is like, you might even find yourself applying for a job!
1. Dropbox – San Francisco, California
Dropbox is an online solution for individuals and businesses to store files, photos, and more. With 500 million users worldwide and over a million files saved to their system each day, they are a powerhouse in their field.
And, they let their 900 employees skate around the building! There are no offices at Dropbox, just open spaces that allow employees to work where they please.
In addition to a full gym, they also have a cafe with a world-renowned chef. Seems to me that they know how to live healthy and happy!
2. Airbnb – San Francisco, California
Airbnb has been revolutionizing the hospitality industry since 2008, by connecting individuals who want to rent out their own home or stay in someone else's. Travel is no longer limited to hotel and hostels, and for those who have some extra space, it's a great way to make additional income.
The 1,600 employees are allowed to work whenever they like – day, night, it doesn't matter.
There are very few offices, but long desks like this one are common.
3. Facebook – Palo Alto, California
Facebook has many offices around the world, but this one is headquarters. You never know when you might run into Mark Zuckerberg or Sheryl Sandberg!
It was designed with lots of indoor and outdoor space. After all, the 12,000 employees need room to spread out.
And of course, there are many fun places for employees to mingle.
4. Nokia – Espoo, Finland
Nokia headquarters is located just outside of Helsinki, the capital of Finland. While you probably recognize the name Nokia from your pre-smart phone days, they've been in the technology business since 1865.
Their space has bright colors throughout, which is said to promote creativity.
5. Urban Outfitters – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Urban Outfitters is best known for its lines of hip, trendy clothing, but they make everything from lipstick to bed sheets. Their office is truly a reflection of their well-known style.
The large rooms encourage teamwork and creativity – and the views of Philly don't hurt, either!
What a fun place to come together and create.
Perhaps the best part of the design is all the greenery, which keeps the space lively and a bit whimsical.
6. LEGO – Billund, Denmark
LEGO is all about fun, creativity, and embracing your imagination – so why not have a slide in the office? Just imagine being late for a meeting and sliding down this!
The employees have lots of games to help keep them energized throughout the day.
And their workspace?
Everywhere you look is another fun surprise! I don't know about you, but I'm feeling a serious urge to build something …
7. Zynga – San Francisco, California
You might not recognize the name Zynga, but what about Farmville or Words with Friends?
These are the people who bring us all our favorite Facebook games. So, it's no wonder …
…. they want their employees to have fun! This arcade/ diner looks like a blast.
8. Google – Mountain View, California
Google has more than 70 offices in 40 countries worldwide, but Mountain View is home to headquarters. As they explain on their website: “Though no two Google offices are the same, visitors to any office can expect to find a few common features: murals and decorations expressing local personality; Googlers sharing cubes, yurts and "huddles"; video games, pool tables and pianos; cafes and "micro-kitchens" stocked with healthy food; and good old fashioned whiteboards for spur-of-the-moment brainstorming.” Hats off to whoever designed this “huddle!”
Every room has a well-thought out theme. Just check out those soccer balls going down the hallway.
Their gym has views like no other.
And what office is complete without a slide? After all, they have to keep up with LEGO.
What a peaceful place to work. No wonder Fortune 500 named Google the number one workplace!
9. Selgas Cano Architecture – in the woods, 15 minutes outside of Madrid, Spain.
If you're an architecture firm, why not have an extraordinary building for your store front? Built into the ground and surrounded by trees, this office brings man and nature together.
Working in the woods must be quite the experience – although I bet it's a bit spooky in a thunderstorm!
10. White Mountain Office – Stockholm, Sweden
Standing in direct opposition to the last office we saw is White Mountain. Originally a nuclear bunker, the space is located 100 feet below bedrock.
However, greenery keeps the data center from being too drab.
11. Inventionland Design Factory – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
When you are the world's largest invention factory, you need to encourage creativity as much as possible. Tree houses and pirate ships are just some of what you'll find inside their incredible office.
Research, design, marketing, and more – Inventionland does it all. If you have an idea, they are the people who can help bring it to life.
Only a few of the 400 employees actually get to work on the pirate ship, though! Is that an empty seat for me on the bow?