This month in workplace news, we’re noticing a trend toward the prioritization of community when creating work environments. Companies are adding parks, trails and scenic locations and altering workspace shapes and sizes to make for a more communal workday.
More community and nature to balance high-speed expansion
In our last news update, we talked about Google’s expansion plan to “bring the outside in” with greenhouse-like buildings. Now, according to a LA Times article by Queenie Wong, Facebook is also trying to counteract the increase in cement as it grows, with expansion plans that include a rooftop park.
Facebook should not only focus on maintaining a balance with nature, but also maintaining a balance with its community of employees. Expansion may result in employees in the newer buildings feeling isolated from the rest of the company – we’ve seen this first hand. Creating a sense of connectedness using agile workspace management and digital collaboration tools will be critical as businesses who tout their culture expand across several physical locations.
Self-containment or bifurcation? What’s your strategy?
While learning some fun facts about Apple’s new headquarters and Silicon Valley’s growth curve in this Forbes piece, the discussion of bifurcated campuses caught our attention. There are two distinct strategies Silicon Valley companies use when it comes to real estate: a self-contained campus environment (one
massive campus) and a ‘bifurcated’ office environment (a main location in the valley with another office in downtown SF).
Companies like Apple and Facebook pride themselves on containing all employees on their main premises, whereas companies like LinkedIn and Adobe have decided to build offices in various locations. We understand the strategy behind maintaining one campus and therefore one community, but we also appreciate the benefits of a bifurcated campus. Employees (and new talent) will value the ability to work from different locations, ease their commute when they need to, meet with different people and experience a variety of work environments. Building a sense of community is not always about keeping all employees in one space, but making employees feel at ease and capable of collaboration despite location.
What Google should do in sight of lost expansion options in MV
Last week, Mountain View’s allocation of the North Bayshore area, which favored LinkedIn’s expansion request over Google’s, made headlines. The inability to expand as far as hoped will likely push Google to find new ways to manage workspace and foster community, perhaps in a way that may be more sustainable than the original expansion.
As we explored above, a productive and collaborative community can also be fostered in a bifurcated office, so we are confident Google will use this outcome to its advantage.