Which team will score the most productivity points and be named the ultimate CRE Survivor?
In the Facebook session yesterday I had the opportunity to hear the story behind the transformation of the Palo Alto Sun Microsystems campus into the current Facebook campus.
Frank Gehry called personally offering to design the campus to house 6,000 staff. It’s 4 city blocks in size, Gensler designed, based on recreating downtown Palo Alto in an unpopular industrial area.
Called the ‘big room’, the campus is totally open plan, with a green roof and extensive landscaping. Supporting a culture of ‘walk and talk’ is core to the design. They also have a BBQ shack, graffiti wall, barbers and dry cleaners, a road running through the spine and even a full scale garden incorporated onto a mezzanine level.
The design is remarkably functional; no curves or twists, no fuss, just a direct response to Facebook’s needs.
They use an awesomeness survey to gauge employee satisfaction. Real estate success is measured this way, they don’t do ‘metrics’
Congestion and time spent commuting is a common thread regarding working from home and increased productivity and a major consideration when weighing up out-of-town campus vs. CBD working locations.
The question is, what do you miss, and when does ping pong become boring? Eric Chen from Microsoft said he would miss people watching in the city.
The novelty of a campus environment is that it acts as a prop for interaction with people so it doesn’t become boring. In order to make this work, people need to buy in and organizations need to ‘facilitate the facility’.
Young guns from Microsoft, SCB and the self-professed ‘cougar’ from Touch Events, a state-owned sports marketing company, are talking about the appeal of the office environment in job selection.
Why is playfulness important? Avril Wei from Standard Chartered Bank says it makes you more creative. She is referencing their space at Changi Business Park, which was project managed by Jones Lang LaSalle – go PDS Singapore!
And the speaker from Microsoft is referencing their Beijing Campus, also project managed by us – go PDS Beijing!!
Does this generation have a shorter attention span?
A few bold headlines from this session looking at the youth perspective on the future of China’s workplace:
While the number of people graduating from universities has tripled in the last 10 years, only one third leave their provinces to work.
The one-child generation has resulted in “little emperors” that are spoilt and not hard working – these people will be managing China in years to come!
The Chinese are early adopters if mobile technology – 60% vs. 35% in Europe. However, this contrasts with their adoption of mobile working at 38% vs. 75% in Europe.
It will be interesting to see how all of these factors will influence the evolution of workplace strategy in China!