A few readers had asked me to blog on my entrepreneurial experience so I posted on the history of Aquent and our culture of innovation. We were gearing up for a big office move; we had been at our old office for seventeen years and we needed more space.
The old office had four floors and the new office will have everyone together but that’s not the biggest difference. The new office is a “hoteling” space where no one has an assigned desk; instead the office is a series of “neighborhoods” that each person can wander into all day, as their needs change.
This is the new entry to the office. Welcome to The Pergola. All the plants are real!
This is a hard adjustment: no assigned desks or cubicles mean …
- No photos on your desk of the family
- No landline phones
- No file cabinets
- Not sitting with your group or business unit
- No stuff
- Paperless (more or less) environment
The “legacy” plants from the old move. Employees at my company get a plant as a five-year anniversary gift. I think these are some of the survivors.
The front reception desk has a new tall order. Where’s Waldo? For incoming calls or visitors, how will you find the person? Each person gets a mobile phone headset and you can leave a message in their voice box.
These lockers are now where you store your personal and desk items. There are half and full lockers.
There are a couple of small private rooms off the locker room that are perfect for changing, nursing a baby or a headache.
This staircase used to go nowhere. Now, it’s reclaimed space called The Fun House where we are trying to put in a hammock. There’s also Aquent memorabilia on the walls and more lockers.
The first space you see to work in The Cafe. There is a kitchen area with coffee, tea and water, refrigerator, microwave (2), and dishwasher.
The idea is for that Starbucks feeling of working in a space where you might be chatting casually and eating.
Here’s The Cafe again at lunch.
A huge conference room with barn doors is hidden off The Cafe. The doors open up if you need this space for a party. These two ladies made the new space happen. Thanks Erin and Rose! You are both amazing!!
Tucked on either side are two banquettes with white boards. You can eat and meet and dream up ideas.
The Pergola is small, casual meeting space. That’s Erika! She’s an amazing internal recruiter!
My friend Nathalie and I tried to take a selfie to share. It was a fail but here she is, color coordinated with this child-sized table so I made her pose here. You don’t have to be color coordinated to sit here!
This is one of my favorite areas. It’s padded cushions that you can sit or lie against meant to simulate a stairwell or a stoop. It turns out that people like to collaborate on stairs and people like to relate to each other from different points of view/stair heights.
Three conference rooms are decorated by decade. This is the 50’s room. It’s our CFO’s favorite. I call it the Mad Men room and we are going to add a side table for a cut glass cognac bottle. Cigars would be good too but the real ones are too stinky. Maybe chocolate.
The 70s room is fun! Those chairs are very comfortable.
I think this is the Power 90s room.
Way in the back of the space is The Garage. I thought it was great space and it turns out to be the most populated. There are other conference room spaces and a neighborhood or two that I didn’t show you but this is the gist: paperless hoteling space much like an ad agency or Google. In fact, it was designed by architects who worked on the Google space.
The “Three Little Pigs” Meeting Rooms (or what I refer to them as)
Can the design of a space change the way people interact? It’s amazing how much you bump into people now that we are all on one floor and wandering around untethered by assigned seating. It’s a little disconcerting at first, but it’s also a jolt of freedom. No one really knows if you are in the office or not (it doesn’t matter to us; our company culture is not about facetime, just results). It’s also more social. And more relaxed.
My other partner John tries out The Pergola seats. They are cushy with layers of felt.
If you believe in feng shui, there’s no clutter which is a good thing as it is suppposed to tire the mind. The open flow is also considered good energy. The new office is just a few blocks away from the old office, but it’s a world apart! Want to see more of the office?
Would you want to work here? If you do, talk to Erika!
p.s. Some people asked me if there are napping pods. There are not. Hopefully, the fire code will allow us to get that hammock into The Fun Room which would be great for napping. Still, there are plenty of couches and areas to recline for a quick snooze. I totally believe in the 15 minute power nap and instilled this in the office I used to run in Los Angeles. There, we had to nap under our desk. This is much more comfortable.
p.p.s. When I told my husband that our new office space is cool, he sent me this link. Ok, fine! My new office is not as cool as this one!
The online game developer run by an avid “Star Trek” fan has built its headquarters in China in the shape of the legendary spaceship.