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Sometimes Offices Suck. Here Are 6 On The Cool Side.
August 4, 2013
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The offices of Google in Tel Aviv (Photo: Dezeen)

What's it like to work in your office?

For a lot of U.S. workers, it sounds like it could be better. A recent survey found that only 24 per cent of office workers in the U.S. currently work in "optimal workplace environments."

The study was carried out by Gensler, a design and architecture company (it seems like Canadians may be doing a little better: a study of people in this country conducted in 2012 found that 71 per cent of us are enjoying our jobs - maybe we like our offices more).

A common complaint among the 2,000 workers surveyed by Gensler was that their offices make it difficult to focus, and the study's authors say this "inability to focus is the key driver of workplace ineffectiveness."

Another aspect of a good office environment is choice, according to the study - the ability for employees to decided where and how to work.

"Balanced workplaces where employees have the autonomy to choose their work space based on the task or project at hand are more effective and higher-performing," Diane Hoskins, Gensler's co-CEO, told Reuters.

So: a workspace that allows people to focus and collaborate, and where they have lots of choice. Sounds pretty good.

We dug around and found a few office spaces that might just fit the bill. And they all look like fun places to work, too...

6. Clif Bar Headquarters In California
cool-offices-clif.jpgMost offices don't have a built-in climbing wall. The California headquarters of Clif Bar, makers of organic energy and nutrition foods, does, as well as stationary bikes, personal trainers, and private massage therapy rooms.

There are lots of other cool things about Clif's office, and not just design-wise: employees work 80 hours every two weeks, but they're allowed to structure their time so they can take every other Friday off, as Laurie Jennings writes on

The expectation is that workers will use that extra day off to do things like mountain climbing and biking. But if you work at a company best known for an organic energy bar, that's probably exactly what you like to do with your days off.

5. Hootsuite In Vancouver
Come in, lie down (Photo: Hootsuite)

That room up there is part of Hootsuite's office in Vancouver. The whole complex was designed around a cabin theme, but the picture above is maybe the best part of the whole place: it's for taking naps.

Yep, that's right. Hootsuite has a nap room at their office. They also have a yoga studio, a ping-pong table, and open concept office tables that invite people to collaborate while they work. Oh yeah, and tents. Some of their meeting rooms are tents.

If all that's not enough, Hootsuite welcome employees to bring their dogs to work with them. The whole thing sounds about as warm and Canadian as... Well, as taking a nap in a log cabin.

4. Mind Candy In London, UK
The outdoor-inspired office of Mind Candy (Photo: Telegraph/Mind Candy)

Yes, that's an office. Mind Candy, a video game company in London has transformed their whole workspace into a play den, the Telegraph reports.

If Gensler's right about the importance of choice in an office environment, it looks like this would be a pretty good spot to get things done.

The major challenge might be deciding where to start. Our vote? Beanbag chairs.

3. Airbnb In San Francisco
Airbnb head offices (Photo: Business Insider)

This is one corridor in the offices of Airbnb, a website that allows people to rent their homes online (you can take a full tour at Business Insider).

That mushroom-shaped structure is a conference room, and like all the other meeting rooms at the company's offices, it's based on a listing from the site.

cool-offices-airbnb-original.jpgOn the right is the original building the room is based on, which is located in Aptos, California.

It means that going to meetings at the company is kind of like travelling the world - they've got rooms based on places in NYC, Tokyo, Berlin, and various other spots.

They also have a wall that's built to look like a vintage Pan Am airplane. The whole office is designed to mirror what the company does, and it looks like it would make some aspects of the daily grind a little less grind-y.

2. Selgas Cano Architecture In Madrid, Spain
Selgas Cano's offices (Photo: Iwan Caan)

Getting from your office to nature usually takes at least a long walk, and it often means taking time off and heading to the country.

Employees at Selgas Cano Architecture, though, all you have to do is... Look up.

As if this office space needed to be any cooler than what you can see here, the other half of the building is half-underground, with similarly open-concept windows giving a view of the forested area outside. James Bond villains: your move.

1. Google In Tel Aviv, Israel
cool-offices-google-telaviv.jpgGoogle has some cool and unexpected design at its offices around the world, but the Tel Aviv office, which opened earlier this year, is really something.

The space was designed by Swiss company Camenzind Evolution, and it features slides connecting every floor, a meeting area filled with live orange trees, workstations on a "beach" and take grass covering the floors and seating in one meeting room.

Each area of the office is designed to represent an aspect of local identity, according to the designers.

You can check out a slideshow with more parts of the office at Dezeen (that's their orange tree-filled meeting area at the top of the post).


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