Office Renovation Started

We are starting to design our new office, and obviously, we have great ideas about what the new office environment should look like. Here are some of my note, and I would love my readers to share some insights about what is important for an Internet company office.

  • There should be combined relax corner with sofa, foods, books and business oriented meeting rooms.
  • There will be as many places to write on, to stick notes on as possible, since whiteboards, glass boards, and writable walls inviting and engaging people discussion.
  • A very clean office with well managed facility.
  • The best view of windows should be reserved for as many people as possible. That means, offices and meeting rooms should be built at places without window, and leave the view of window to people. I hate offices with offices for upper management at window and squeeze people with cubicles in the middle.
  • Walls should be either be whiteboard, or decorated with wall painting. Avoid white walls.
  • Put drinking machines in central location, and build environments to allow people to interact around the drinking machine. The same for the door to the rest room. Because drinking machine, and the rest room hall ways are two places people get to so frequently, where communication happens.
  • Encourage people to decorate their own office space with photos.
  • Design paths in the office to allow the design of one clear “main street” where people can gather and greet each other during the work.
  • Put important metrics at most dominate places, say, the entrance so people can see it easily everyday.
  • Lighting is always important to make an office comfortable.
  • There must be a “mixer” area, to balance the natural groups of people – people tend to communicate with people around them, with rare chance to talk with others in other corner. If there is space to allow people from different corner to participate in one activity – like print machine, or breakfast table, that will help communication a lot.
  • Use as many places as possible to increase the internal brand awareness of the company brand, and the brand of individual product – to make it “famous” brand at least within the office with posters, and videos.

Anything else?

6 thoughts on “Office Renovation Started

  1. The office I work in is not big, but really comfortable. I think your plan is great, because it understands that small, inexpensive details can make a big difference in people’s daily happiness.

    * Our office is sunny. We leave the blinds open and let the sun shine in, not just for top executives.

    * There are cubicle dividers, but they are three-sided and lower than shoulder-height. That means people can easily chat and you don’t feel like you are trapped in a box. They don’t block the light.

    * It’s open-plan. The only office with a door that closes is the boss’s — and that’s because he has private meetings and job interviews. Even then, his office is glass. We can always see him. If he’s not in a meeting, his door is open.

    * A Nespresso machine, a small gesture, made a big difference. It has become a little chatting spot in a workplace that is often serious and quiet. There’s also a small table where people take turns leaving snacks.

    Long ago, I worked for a company that skimped on the basics, like the tea area. It was a tiny, tiny cost savings, in a company that could definitely afford it. The bad impact it had on morale wasn’t worth it.

    Bloomberg News is famous for its nice offices — fish tanks, free snacks, etc. It is said to greatly help productivity.

  2. I know this will sound crazy, but I always love walking in to an office where one or two people might have their well-behaved/well-mannered dogs, or even an “office cat”, around for companionship. It seems to really lower the stress level when there’s a friendly dog to pat, and it definitely brings people together who might otherwise not have a common reason for conversation. Of course there are probably issues relating to allergies, dog hair, etc. and lack of suitable outdoor urban areas to take an animal for walks during the day…you might have to just settle for people putting up pictures of their pets instead :-)

    Another thought if you really will be able to control the design elements of your new space…I recently walked into a public bathroom which was one of the most beautiful rooms I have seen in a very long time. The one design feature which made all the difference was the washroom sink. It was so beautiful — like a sculpture! The water fell out slightly directly from the wall above a large flat marble platform which was suspended over the rectangular drainage bowl beneath. It was like washing your hands in a very beautiful water sculpture or fountain, not a standard bowl. Although very simple in design, and easy to execute in terms of plumbing, I’m sure it was more expensive than standard fixtures. But it brought such a sense of serenity and beauty to the room, that the whole place had a very “zen-like” feeling to it. Soft lighting, clean uncluttered lines…really it was an oasis of calm in the otherwise noisy and busy restaurant area. I think the more “Ooooh, this is beautiful and so peaceful” moments you can provide for your staff, the more that small (and definitely necessary) moment out of their work day will rejuvenate their spirits.

    What fun for you to be able to design your new space, Jian Shuo — an opportunity for collaboration and innovation which will surely have a positive effect on both current and future employees :-)

  3. Thanks Carroll. I know you will be among the first to be back to my blog after pausing it for quite some time, and resuming.

    Yes. You gave great ideas – not something big, but the small places like the fountain-like washroom can be the highlight of office space. I will think about the idea you mentioned.

  4. I’m just glad to see you back again, JS :-)

    I don’t use a “feed” or anything, but I’m very loyal about checking even the most long-defunct blogs (“Defunct” is a great word, by the way — if you don’t already know that one, you might find it quite useful :-) You’re not going to find it easy to get rid of this reader! ;-)

  5. I’m just glad to see you back again, JS :-)

    I don’t use a “feed” or anything, but I’m very loyal about checking even the most long-defunct blogs (“Defunct” is a great word, by the way — if you don’t already know that one, you might find it quite useful :-) You’re not going to find it easy to get rid of this reader! ;-)

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