‘Let’s meet in Meg Ryan’ – words probably never uttered before in an office environment. However, LinkedIn employees based in the recently created New York office will now have meetings in conference rooms named after movie stars from famous films that were shot in the Empire State Building. The new offices are on the 22nd-28th floors of the iconic Empire State and has drawn inspiration from the city of New York in a way that hasn’t simply turned to cheesy clichés (subway signs, mini statues of Liberty and yellow taxis).
LinkedIn’s revamping of their office environment is evidence of a recent trend of offices trying to move away from the standard bullpen of cubicles. Innovative office spaces are becoming more popular in order to keep employee spirits high and boost satisfaction levels that ultimately will boost loyalty. Creative industries tend to more often than not be the ones with these kinds of spaces but are increasingly being looked at by other industries. LinkedIn has followed companies such as Google and Red Bull in creating a more enjoyable work environment.
The professional networking site has touched upon the aesthetic of New York’s social and business clubs with an old school feel. There is a wall decorated with ‘20s style bowler hats and a wall of vintage rotary phones. The designer Lauren Foley said ‘Everyone in the office is always on the phone, pacing around on their headsets’ which is the inspiration for the wall of phones as many workers would never have used a rotary phone. The best part of the wall of phones is in fact that one, when unlatched, opens a hidden door into a speakeasy lounge. The speakeasy again referencing the old-school feel.
This more lighthearted feel to the office doesn’t however mean it is all fun and silliness; there is a sense of maturity and sophistication that is coupled with areas of relaxation. A café, screening room (with game consoles), a billiards lounge, catering service and fitness room give employees an opportunity to unwind and reboot when needed.
There can be a fine line when designing new offices and creating an environment that doesn’t boost productivity. For example I’ve recently heard of an office (not sure of the company) where they hire a guitar player to come in and play sometimes during the day. That to me would just be irritating. Many people do work with music, but music that is personal to them. A song that is motivational and enjoyable for one may be hated by another. Creating an enjoyable workspace is also vital in luring in the best new talent. Workers are far more likely to choose a company over another if they know they will have a better day to day experience.
I believe that happy employees will mean more creativity and a higher desire to produce results. Offering real amenities to employees and having an environment that will ultimately boost productivity and keep workers happy is something that LinkedIn seem to have created.
About the Author: Harry Kempe, a marketing intern at IIR USA, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. He is a recent graduate of Newcastle University who previously worked for EMAP Ltd. and WGSN as a marketing assistant on events such as the World Architecture Festival, World Retail Congress and Global Fashion Awards. He can be reached at hkempe@IIRUSA.com.