Yeah, yeah. Tech companies have nifty office spaces. We know you know that. But we’re talking here about more than just miles of floor-to-ceiling glass, ping pong-equipped break areas and sprawling cafeterias (although those are nice too). No, the coolest tech offices around the world have as much in common with theme parks as they do with conventional workplaces, filled with perks and attractions aimed at making you love your job—and keeping you there.
It isn't just happenstance that your industry is leading the way in workplace experience. The talent shortage in the tech world means that companies are eager—sometimes downright desperate—to track down qualified developers and engineers to fill their ranks. Not only that, but high turnover means that once these firms have hired someone, there’s a strong possibility that they'll be posting an ad for the same position again in the not-too-distant future. So if it takes scheduling a few on-site sushi-making classes to ensure workers want to stick around—well, why not?
With that in mind, Monster US took a look at five of the coolest offices in tech (a couple of them still under development), all of which go above and beyond the call of providing workers with a desk, a monitor and a rolling chair.
1. AirbnbIf you’ve ever spent an hour going down the rabbit hole of Airbnb’s travel rentals, you might already recognize some features of its 72,000 square-foot San Francisco headquarters.
Its conference rooms are inspired by the site's most sought-after accommodations, with one that resembles a Californian "mushroom dome" cabin and another based on an art-crammed SoHo loft. According to Business Insider, the company even worked with the actual apartment owners to make sure they got the details right—down to the color of the curtains.
The design is more than an IKEA-esque gimmick, though. It’s a stab at creating an environment that feels genuinely homey, and creates a sense of shared space among employees that dovetails with the company’s mission.
2. AppleWhen it’s complete, the new Apple headquarters—not far from their original one in Cupertino, California—will be so massive that it’ll practically be a city unto itself.
At first glance, though, it resembles something closer to a flying saucer primed for takeoff. Aside from a central, glass-encircled ring, much of it is underground—including a 120,000 square-foot auditorium that will become the site of future product launches. And at only four stories, the design is intended to fit into the landscape rather than dominate it (over 80% of the campus will be green space). The result should be an alternately subterranean and light-filled oasis where employees can see Apple’s modus operandi—creating technology that fits into and subtly reshapes our world—in every curved glass panel. Curious? Take a look at this clip of a drone flying over the imposing campus-in-progress.
3. GoogleLike Apple, Google is in the midst of designing a new space, but their approach is less sci-fi monolith, more urban campsite.
The most striking feature of the office—which will be 18,500 square feet and built in Mountain View, California—its tent-like roof, called a "canopy," that will help control the indoor temperature and sound level, Fortune reported. Described in Google’s plans as "a piece of glass fabric," it’s a utopian touch to a campus that—as is the Google way—will be packed with amenities like bike paths and restaurants. While the project is still in its early days, artist renders also include kayaks and rollerblading, so maybe the tech giant is hoping to keep its workers from feeling too desk-bound.
4. EtsyHandmade goods marketplace Etsy, headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, is another example of a company whose workspace perfectly reflecting its brand identity. A nine-foot cardboard owl sculpture, known affectionately as Mr. Grit, resides near the front door, and typical meetings and conferences are broken up by weekly crafting lessons for employees, according to Business Insider.
Even company all-hands sessions have a touch of quirk, with CEO Chad Dickerson just as likely to whip out an impromptu Johnny Cash cover as he is to break down last quarter’s earnings. Employees are similarly encouraged to show off their hidden talents as the meeting’s "opening act"—an approach intended to bring people together across separate, otherwise unconnected departments.
5. GithubGiant tents not doing it for you? Company-wide talent shows not your thing? San Francisco "social coding" startup Github might be the right place for your next job. As soon as you walk inside, you’re standing in a huge replica of the Oval Office, and things only get crazier from there.The company’s mascot, a cat-headed octopus known, aptly, as "Octocat," makes frequent appearances in wall art and table inlays, and a red-phoned "situation room" offers another slightly bent take on White House iconography. Also, there are dogs everywhere.Best of all, though, is a lounge-like “thinking room,” where no technology is allowed—save for an iPad hidden in an old book.
This article was first published on Monster.com.