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Why Tech Firms Favour Wellbeing Workspaces

Tuesday, 15 Mar 2016

IA

What you can learn from them.

Tech companies are less likely to devote office space to individual employees, instead preferring to tailor floor plans to team working, according to research.

A report by Bates Smart Architects draws inferences on how technology companies approach workspaces based on the firm’s designs of 60,000 square metres of space over the past seven years.

The report finds tech companies typically allocate about 30 percent of floor space to individual desks, compared to “40-45 percent for non-tech companies”.

This is particularly pronounced among what the study calls “established” technology companies, where as little as one-fifth of floor space might be assigned to individuals.

The study shows technology companies are more likely to value office designs that are open and foster collaboration.

“Up to a quarter of the available floor space is given over to wellbeing and social spaces,” the study said.

Just this week, it emerged that cloud CRM firm Salesforce put a “mindfulness zone” on every floor of one of its new buildings in San Francisco.

Business Insider reported that a team of 30 Buddhist monks had originally recommended that Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff devote an entire floor of the office “to just silence”. The room on every floor was a compromise.

Bates Smart associate director Kellie Payne told Information Age that these kind of spaces could be referred to as “library zones”.

She said that every project her firm worked on “will have some element of wellbeing or breakout space” in the design.

“We have the same designers working on five star hotels as we do on workplaces, so they bring those same skills into the workplace,” Payne said.

While incorporating wellbeing spaces into workplace design is in vogue, in technology companies it is often paired with perks like in-house chefs or staff that are dedicated to employee wellbeing.

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