Walking up to the Manchester offices of Melbourne, an IT server hosting company, my expectations are not high. Dreary business park office buildings slouch amid a forest of To Let signs. Entering the foyer, only one level is occupied: the fourth floor. I take the lift. But as the door slides open, everything is not as it first appeared.
Oversized flowers, like props from the Wizard of Oz, look out. Two staff are animatedly playing on an arcade machine. Passing through another door, I am in an indoor garden, a small path winding through grass upon which more “workers” are sat cross-legged, playing on an old Nintendo.
I stagger on past a living room with an open fireplace, leather chairs and chandelier; a Mad Men-style meeting room replete with early 1960s furniture. A frame of pool is in full swing. A cupboard door opens into a Narnian winter. And amid all this, people are sat at desks … doing work.
Offices are traditionally a place to sit at a desk, in front of a computer, and get on with your jobs. But ever since Google came along and transformed their officespace into a fun playground style place to be, more and more companies have moved towards creating a relaxing and engaging space for their employees to not only work but also be happy.
IF you discussed creating this type of environment with most companies the usual reply would be ‘it costs too much’ and ‘we are here to work not play’, but these suggestions are often easily counteracted with a simple ‘it only costs as much as you want to put into it’ and ‘its proven that workers who are happy work harder’. So why don’t more and more companies work like this?
This report from the Guardian features a company in Manchester who have created a pub style section of the office for meetings and as a focal point for the office for staff and visitors to engage in. They also wanted to create a ‘home’ enviorment across the office, so they have front doors, wallpaper, windows connecting office spaces, artificial plants, pool tables, beanbag areas, even a scalextric and picnic table area!
For more photos on the Melbourne Offices visit http://www.melbourne.co.uk/about-melbourne/we-have-moved/