Investing in Culture – Some Lessons Learned

Posted by Matt Corbett on Apr 16, 2015 10:07:00 AM

This week’s Time magazine has an article titled: Building Monuments in Glass and Steel. It is about the tech giants and their race to build iconic headquarters that represent culture, dominance, profits and innovation. Leading the pack are the fantastic four – Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon – closely followed by dozens of well-known companies looking to impress with architecture.  This is not a new phenomenon: think of the Rockefeller center in NY (1930s) and the Sears Tower in Chicago (1973). What the new generation of symbolic corporate headquarters all has in common appears to be a shared belief that physical space can have a profound effect on company culture.  Thoughtfully designed offices can have a remarkable impact on how teams communicate, collaborate, and increase productivity, but does this have to be limited to larger, tech companies with unlimited budgets? Can anyone do this?  At Hub Recruiting, we’ve tried really hard to do this with our new offices on a budget.  We’ve spent carefully where it feels important and economized creatively where possible. I’ll let you know if we’ve got it right (or even close), but these are some of the budget-minded lessons we’ve learned along the way.

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  1. Color is vital – IMG_3317Strong, primary colors on a white background provide energy and vibrancy.

  2. Let the dogs in – Dogs in the office can be priceless for bonding moments and often provide the best comic relief in stressful situations.

  3. Watch, don’t tell – See where people tend to hang-out and collaborate naturally and then focus on creating more spaces like that.

  4. Introverts and extroverts – Make sure you’ve got busy zones where extroverts can thrive and quiet zones where introverts can find some privacy and a quiet work space.  

  5. Proximity – Keeping people together creates a natural buzz.

  6. People don’t work at desks anymore – Let them roam and provide multiple spaces for different types of work.

  7. One different space – Allow at least one space or zone for workers to play together instead of work together.  For example, a swing, pool table, video game, ping pong, basketball net, etc.

  8. Doodling anywhere – IMG_3318Glass walls & tables are especially handy with plenty of dry erase pens lying around.

  9. Take your time – It has taken us a couple of years and plenty of mistakes in one space before we felt comfortable designing and building a new space.

  10. Ask your team – We got feedback from our team. Some of the answers surprised us but it is better to ask beforehand than learn the hard way afterwards. For example, the number of people in one pod area (4), the number of quiet rooms (4) and seating options (some people want to stick with one desk and some want the freedom to move around each day).

We move into our new space in two weeks. I’ll let you know how it goes and what additional lessons we learn.

Topics: Business Growth, Culture