The Office Is a Working Trap

“It was devastating,” he says. “And it made our team realize that the office preparation was flawed.” The realization was straightforward: Office design was long overdue with installation of desks and offices, with gaps between areas considered to be corridors and aisles. But that “excessive stress” on the desk, as Wilkinson recalled, “brought about the ruin of a working life, locking us in in the process.”

And so he began to loosen it, moving the purpose of his design to work the work that was done far from the desk. In practice, this means making bleachers and nooks in areas that were previously poorly lit, and separating desk groups to encourage more mobility between groups. The office space, the idea went, can add to casual encounters, which can lead to creativity. The design also allowed private areas — many with comfortable chairs and comfortable ottomans to match the family room style — to work in depth, away from noisy desks.

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were very impressed with the new office. In earlier meetings, Wilkinson recalls that the two men’s ideas for design were greatly influenced by their time at Stanford, where engineers prefer to meet in small groups and often flock to remote areas of the school to enroll with study groups. He wanted to combine cultural office with university campus, creating an environment that could promote cohesive and self-reliant work. Wilkinson thus devised a plan in which the purpose of the union — such as that of a college student — was self-reliance. This means a flexible work environment, designed to support flexible teams and new projects, and also means more green spaces, bookstores, social media, and “professional social media,” which Wilkinson later described as “regions”. which is in the public domain … ongoing seminars and information sharing events will take place. “

To facilitate the continuous sharing of information, Googleplex had a number of useful features. Volleyball courts, valets, organic gardens, tennis courts, and soccer fields are located at the school, which also houses the Google-operated public spaces. Within Googleplex, employees have access to a number of gyms and laundry rooms, as well as a number of restaurants, cafes, and self-service kitchens. Unlike traditional corporate restaurants, where food is often served slowly, everything on Google is free. In 2011, when the company had about 32,000 employees, the food service budget was about $ 72 million a year. Since then, Google employees have quadrupled.

According to Wilkinson, the Googleplex design is designed to allow “all of your basic needs” to be met in your environment. As he observed at the time, supporting workers with a stable, productive culture, such as food and sanitation – was a way of motivating the community and acting responsibly. But more important, it was a compassionate, considerate way for companies to take care of long-term employees and make changes to the world.

As of today, Wilkinson is not sure about the vision. Over the past two decades, its innovative and innovative designs have spread around the world, as large technology companies and small startups have disrupted their dynamic workplace. And Wilkinson is well aware of the deception of the same thing. “I think that creating a living space and living in the home is dangerous,” he said in late 2020. “It’s smart, attractive, and dangerous. It loves employees by saying we give you everything you want, as if it were your home, and the danger is that it disturbs the difference between home and office.

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