Technology‎ > ‎

Cool offices stimulate staff

posted 24 Feb 2011, 04:41 by Mpelembe   [ updated 24 Feb 2011, 04:45 ]
As many employers cut back in difficult financial times, experts say investing in office environments can boost staff satisfaction and productivity, as UK internet hosting company Rackspace has discovered.

UK-CUTTING EDGE OFFICES - Hanging out on the roof terrace - shooting some pool - or holding a meeting in 10 Downing Street.

It's all in a day's work for employees of Rackspace.

When the internet hosting company decided to bring its 550 UK employees under one roof - it also decided to create a stimulating and funky place for them to work says Jamie Kinch.

Jamie Kinch, Business Services Manager at Racksapce, saying:

"We wanted to make sure that we could create this environment where staff would just love to come to work every day. We have some really unique benefits and we wanted to capture those within the office, so we had a consultation group."

Rackspace's motto is "The home of fanatical support".

They made their dream concrete with office design company Morgan Lovell.

Each floor has informal work areas - all with a different home theme. Stuart Jefferson was head designer.

Stuart Jefferson, Head designer at Morgan Lovell, saying:

"The garage is at the bottom, a sort of garage and driveway, which gave us a good excuse to get a real car into the space. Following up the building you've then got the logical progression as you would through a house, the retro lounge to the study library environment. To top it off literally on the top floor the garden and swings, patio."

These themed break-out areas give workers space to move away from their desks.

Jamie Kinch, Business Services Manager at Racksapce, saying:

"Somebody that maybe was thinking about stepping out the door might go and sit in a comfortable chair somewhere, take half an hour out, maybe put their feet up and start working on a laptop."

Rackspace employees all have favourite parts of the building.

Lee Robinson, Rackspace employee, saying"There's a few green, comfy armchairs and they're great for little informal meetings when you need to get away from your desk."


It might be a novelty working in a room like this, but do offices with innovative areas really make staff more productive?

Work psychologist Tom Stewart says it pays for businesses to invest in their buildings and their people.

Tom Stewart, Executive Chairman, System Concepts, saying"The more the office is like a home and sort-of relaxed environment, the more likely people are to hang in there and work. In another company, where people get profit bonus or part of the whole ethos of the company, they'll work as long as it takes. So you know just cynically from an employer's point of view, treating people well is very cost effective."

Not every company would suit an office like Rackspace's.

But it seems there is evidence thoughtful office improvements can actually increase productivity.

So the more companies put in - the more they will get out of their employees.

Joanna Partridge, Reuters