The Makings of a Popular Office

It has been week since I published my annual Top 25 Most Popular Offices of 2012 and already it has been received with smashing success. If it were an office, it would be #2. And while it is fun to look at and wish we all worked in those offices, I think we can gain some insight about what makes an office popular by digging a little deeper into this years list.

Name Recognition

Quickly peruse through the list and you’ll be sure to notice that the companies that dominate the list are all companies with great name recognition. Google, Microsoft, Apple, Red Bull, Unilever… the list goes on.

This fact was actually what drew me into creating Office Snapshots in the first place. People are very interested in seeing what it is like to work for the companies they know, love, and consistently use their products. I’d say that it is kind of similar to wanting to look at the homes of celebrities on the old MTV show Cribs. The behind the scenes view gives you a little more insight into what makes them tick.

Employees That Care & Rabid Fans

It isn’t enough to have a big name ; your employees should think the office is great as well. And because of that they are compelled to share the office with the world. Often, their families and friends have never seen where they work and are excited to get a behind-the-scenes view.

Some of the projects that were shared most by employees were Urban Outfitters, Quicken Loans, Google Moscow. In fact, Etsy (which was not on the list as it was an older post) includes a link to their offices on their job listings. Why? Because they are proud of it and want people to check out their space.

I’ve written before about how offices should be used for employee retention as well as convincing employees to want to work for your company. I’ve also mentioned about how great startup offices are the new normal. Employees sharing the office is the outward expression of all of this.

It seems also that beyond simply being well known, many of the companies on the list have fans that not only like the companies but love them. Because of that, these fans are eager to see any content related to their favorite company – and then share it with their related friend

Originality, Quirky Design, and Great Photography

In looking over the list it is pretty apparent that original design ideas go over well with audiences, which makes a lot of sense. People just aren’t wowed by looking at the same thing over and over again. Designers who take the time to create a very original design for their clients will do well.

Along the same lines, office designs that feature quirky elements like fake grass floors, white board walls, plywood features are crowd pleasers. Just look at Google Moscow, Google Zurich, Zynga, 22squared, Unilever, and Google London. That said, if you basically copied all of the cool elements from these offices, the originality factor just might rule you out.

And of course, posts with amazing photography make up all 25 positions of the list. People just aren’t going to be enthralled with junky photos.

A Few Takeaways

It wouldn’t be enough to just look at the post and conclude these above items without having some actionable items. While the goal of an office shouldn’t be to win the internet, it would logically make sense that an office that looks great online, will look great in real life.

  1. Create a Name and Brand People Love
  2. Make Your Office Something To Be Proud Of
  3. Be Original With Your Design Choices & Think Outside Of The Box
  4. Take Great Photos
  5. Share Your Space on Office Snapshots!