Google isn’t just pushing boundaries when it comes to tech, but office design too.
From the slides in its Silicon Valley base, to an artificial beach at its Tel Aviv offices, and dodgem cars and meetings rooms disguised as giant dice and beach huts at its London hub. But should other businesses be following suit?
While we were pondering this question, an article in Dezeen caught our eye.
Speaking to the magazine, Jeremy Myerson, the first Helen Hamlyn Chair of Design at London’s Royal College of Art, said he is wary of businesses copying the tech giant.
While the office-as-playground approach might work and be appropriate for Google, that doesn’t mean it will work for everyone else.
Games rooms might be seen as creative innovations by Google, but Myerson warned that such spaces can infantilise or distract staff. The office is first and foremost a place of work, after all.
And it’s perhaps not surprising to hear that the novelty of having slides in the office wears off very quickly.
But that’s not to say we can’t learn from Google.
In fact, there are two things to take away from its approach: its emphasis on employee happiness, and the way it incorporates its company culture into its office design.
Office gimmicks such as slides and artificial beaches won’t reflect every company culture. Having dodgem cars in the middle of a law firm probably won’t send clients, or employees, the right message, for example.
But that’s not to say you shouldn’t provide your staff with a space away from their desks.
If your office has the capacity for it, a café area gives employees a break from their screens and provides them with a place to bond with colleagues – two very important contributors to employee happiness.