In my line of work, I hear so many people say: “We want our space to be like Google”. I think to myself: “What the hell does ‘I want my space to be like Google’ actually mean?” Don’t get me wrong – Google’s spaces are amazing, but they are THEIR spaces. Their offices have become as important to their brand as their products. When someone talks about Google, the cool factor of their spaces and amenities come to mind right along with the Google search engine, Droid phone, and Google Maps.
Based on these observations, I believe when people say “I want my space to look like Google,” what they actually mean is: “I’m not quite sure what I want my space to look like, but when people talk about us, I want them to think about our space right along with our products and services”. They want a space that isn’t easily forgotten after a visit, that their friends think “must be awesome,” and that is one of the first things people think of when they hear the company name.
Here is what you should want your space to look like: you. Take the best office space that you’ve seen, mix in a splash of what makes your business unique, add a dash of why would I want to spend 12 hours of my day here?, and top it off with how do create a layout that fosters collaboration and ultimately drives business? Subtract a bit of how much culture shock will my coworkers accept before they grab the pitchforks and light the torches? And then you have yourself a great space. This office doesn’t have to cost you a small fortune. A matter of fact, some of the most notable spaces were created on tight budgets.
Too many organizations try to catch up with what other cutting edge firms do with their spaces. I suppose it’s human nature. While it’s important to know what others are up to, why follow the trends when you can set them? I’m not saying to completely recreate the wheel, but jeez, isn’t it fun to take a risk once in a while?
Here is what Workwell’s next space is going to look like: how about a retro NYC space that takes you back to the grittier (pre Disney-like) New York City? With images (or replicas) of Checkered cabs, old school Times Square themed conference rooms, with auditoriums or public meeting areas themed after the old Yankee and Shea Stadiums? Throw in old NYC enclosed phone booths for private calls and vintage diner-type counter tops and stools. Now that’s a space that I’d sprint to work to every day!