Picture an office in your head. I am going to take a guess at what you are seeing. So here it is: right now you are seeing a large plain room, filled with desks with people in suits sitting at them. Each desk has a picture frame on it containing the picture of a loved one and somewhere about, there is a mug of tea or coffee. In the background you can hear phones ringing, people talking and the tap tap tapping of keyboards? Something a little like this but with more people in it…
Am I correct? If you imagined something different to the above then you must have worked in a really cool startup already. Oh well, at least I tried.
The point I am trying to make is that there are traditional and stereotypical office spaces and then there are startup office spaces, and startup offices are the pioneers in what can be seen as a revolution of redefining the way we view office space. Startups are breaking all the boundaries of what people think office spaces should look like and they are doing this in so many different ways.
This post will outline a few of the ways in which startups are going against conventions and breaking out of a mould that has determined how offices should look for centuries. Let us begin.
Alternate Working Spaces
Most startups haven’t banished the use of desks altogether as many still do use them. However in quite a few offices of startup companies there are alternate places where their employees can work. The picture above is from the offices of Applicake. The bean bags offer a space for both work and relaxation. If sitting at a desk is getting a little boring then employees can mix it up a bit and go sit on a bean bag. Other alternate working spaces of startups include couches, deck chairs, hammocks and pods. With the combination of a laptop and WiFi, who says all work has to be done at a desk?
Challenging The ‘All Work And No Play’ Mentality
Offices have always been a place for people to work. Don’t get me wrong – I am not trying to say people at startups do no work, in fact I would say the opposite. To get a startup to be successful, a lot of work has to go into it.
What I am saying is that startups are challenging the perception that the office should be for working and for working alone. They are doing this by providing their employees with things to do in their down time. Parts of offices have been designed solely for the purpose of fun and games.
Many startups have things such as darts boards, retro games and table tennis tables. Although they are no longer startup companies anymore the offices of Facebook contain sets of turntables for employees to have a go on in their spare time and the Google offices in Zurich have a slide.
By Not Looking Like An Office At All
I mean does this even look like an office to you? When I asked you to picture an office at the beginning of the post the chance that you imagined something like this is very slim.
Many startups are breaking out of the box by a big margin when it comes to defining what offices should look like. Many people are traditional in thinking that an office should look like an office. However startups are forever challenging this perception and it has brought about great results. This is because startups are often full of younger people who are fresh out of college or university. The last thing they want to do is work in an office all their life. So as a solution many startups have made the atmosphere of their office extremely un-office like. Employees still work but without the thought that they have a generic desk job and it really does work wonders.
Getting Creative Using Art
Office spaces don’t have to be plain and free from distractions in order to be productive and startup offices are showing this by really embracing office art. Using art is a really great way of sparking creativity. There is nothing worse than being stuck for ideas, looking up from where you are working only to look at some blank walls that mirror your thoughts. Startup companies really understand this so often use things such as acrylic prints on their walls to really create an environment designed for creative thinking. An example of a startup office that has great art work is the Flikli office in Budapest, their walls have gigantic prints of some really funky designs.
There are many other things that startup companies have done in order to make their offices as cool and unique as possible, the examples that I have given are only a few of them. The business world is changing and it seems logical that the environments people work in should change as well. Many established companies are afraid to break the mould when it comes to office space but it is at their loss, as creating unique office spaces is a real asset to every company regardless of what they do.