While a swanky office space isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker, we’d be lying if we said it didn’t carry at least a little weight when it comes to wooing over a prospective employee. Most people (including yours truly) want to work in an environment that energizes them — that makes them feel engaged and motivated and at home.
It may seem insignificant, but a company’s culture truly is informed by what’s physically contained within its four walls. Whether that’s cutting-edge design, stocked kitchens, open layouts with awesome views, or plenty of toys to keep workers entertained, tech companies of all sizes lean on elements of their office to bolster overall culture and ground their sense of identity.
Here’s an inside peek at the offices of three of Austin's tech companies.
Answers from CFO April Downing
What were your considerations when picking an office space and designing its layout? WP Engine grew up at Capital Factory. When we outgrew that space and sought our own space, we wanted a space that fit with the core tenets of our company and culture: openness, transparency and commitment to our local communities. Our office at 504 Lavaca Street hit all those requirements. Located downtown we can become a pillar of the local community, we designed it with an open plan to support creative collaboration with large central gathering places like our kitchen and conference room for our weekly Town Hall meeting where we share what's going on with the company and lastly it's big enough to support our hyper-growth trajectory well into the future.
What are some of the perks of working in your office? Why are these important to you? At WP Engine we feel our culture and people are our key differentiator and everyone is incredibly proud to work for the company. Consequently, so much of what we do in our space reinforces this culture of collaboration, team spirit and entrepreneurship — from pictures of our global teams, firm-wide outings, to displaying kudos and our values prominently. In just a few minutes of walking around you can get the sense of the comradery and why everyone loves working here. We offer lunch Monday through Thursday and snack closets on every floor. It's not uncommon to find a Street Fighter, Jenga, or Connect4 tournament being held in one our breakaway spaces. All this is so important to us because we really do want to make sure our employees feel happy and positive while spending time in the space we've created. The sense of belonging is reinforced by the fact that on any given day fully half of the employees sport WP Engine t-shirts.
How do you think office design affects work culture? We feel our workspace design does a terrific job of integrating the culture, values and behavior of our people to meet company goals. Culture cannot be duplicated. Our office design and layout does a great job of blending the right mix of individual, meeting and social spaces and even the atmosphere of those spaces fuel our passionate people united in a culture of transparency, innovation, and collaboration. As we continue to expand, our Employee Experience teams works closely with all of our departments to help design and create spaces they are proud to call their own and to ensure we have not only the best place to work today, but also for tomorrow.
Answers from PR & Social Manager Chris Marsh
What were your considerations when pick an office space and designing its layout? Choosing an office location and its layout had to be conducive to the type of workplace and culture we wanted to create. Modernize's opted for an open floor plan without cubes to foster collaboration between teams, allowed room for growth and, of course, conveyed a modern look. Location was also an important consideration - having a downtown office helps foster creativity - you can feel the inspiring energy of the city when working in the heart of Austin.
What are some of the perks of working in your office? Why are these important to you? Kitchen stocked with snacks, catered lunches once a week, kegerator on each floor with rotating craft beer of employee's choice, rooftop patio and workspace overlooking Congress Ave, 'Band Room' complete with instruments and PA system for rocking out and more.
Offering these perks to Modernize employees is important because they support company values and help make for a more joyful day at work.
How do you think office design affects work culture? Having an open layout definitely affects communication and collaboration in a positive way.
Answers from Jessica Gass, Senior Field Marketing Manager, West
What were your considerations when pick an office space and designing its layout? We aim to create a connection on a level field through our open floor plan. No one at Cloudera has a private office, including our executives and CEO.
What are some of the perks of working in your office? Lunch twice weekly, tons of healthy and unhealthy snacks, unlimited PTO, downtown office at 6th and Congress with paid parking, pet friendly office and more.
How do you think office design affects work culture? The open floor plan provides tons of energy and accessibility to everyone. The Engineers chat with the Sales reps. Everyone chats with the people visiting the office on their walk to the kitchen, etc. It just provides a lot more opportunities for everyone to get to know each other — not just people on the same teams. It also makes the executives more approachable. I think overall it really helps to create such a regular upbeat environment.
Photos by Colin Morris
Do you know of a swanky office we should feature? Email us.