Julie Kilburn

A key element of your brand: The perfect working environment

by Julie Kilburn on February 07, 2014

Funky working environments that ‘push creative boundaries’ are fast becoming the new trend, especially among many forward-thinking agencies.

Companies are giving their employees increased freedom to shape their working environment. The outcome is the creation of spaces designed to stimulate brainstorming activities and boost productivity.


It’s an interesting approach, to say the least. Fun environments are known to spark conversations and increased interaction among colleagues that, in turn, spark truly great ideas.

It’s something many companies have cottoned on to. Here are just a few examples:

  • Google has recently released plans for its new Kings Cross headquarters, which include a climbing wall, swimming pool and running track. The internet giant wanted to challenge itself and be more ambitious, its designs certainly tick these two boxes.
  • Meanwhile, Apple, has plans to create a brand new headquarters in California. Nicknamed ‘The Spaceship ­– The Mothership’ because of its vast circular saucer-shaped design, this futuristic project is the brainchild of Norman Foster, the architect behind London’s iconic Gherkin building. Apple’s new premises will feature a whole host of design ‘firsts’, including a man-made forest comprising more than 7,000 trees.
  • Ticketmaster has recently opened the doors to its head office in London. The main feature is a metal slide that staff can use to get to the bar area that is kitted out with a jukebox, pinball machines and football tables.
  • The team at advertising agency of the year 2011, Karmarama, have to walk through a disco tunnel to get into their office – what a great way to eliminate the Monday morning blues! The premises also feature a number of random objects, including a large Buddha, VW camper van and life-sized plastic llama.
  • Innocent Drinks’ entire office floor is covered in fake grass that can even be found underneath employees’ desks. But that’s not all. The kitchen area is kitted out with picnic benches and bunting where staff can sit together during their breaks.
  • Look up in Virgin Money’s operations centre in Edinburgh and you’ll see a ceiling painted in a striking sky design. It’s an eye-catching feature that clinched the company an award from the British Council for Offices in 2012.
  • Wieden & Kennedy – these guys have their very own green leather padded cell. It’s a feature that, bizarre as it sounds, is reported to help with frustrations by providing staff with a quiet environment for conference calls and space to think and brainstorm. Interesting….
  • Founded in 2006, the social network, Badoo, boasts an office with a huge chalkboard. And anything and everything is posted on this central focal point. From party invitations to product news, it’s designed to encourage staff to communicate with each other and ensure nobody gets left out.

These examples are just a snapshot of how certain companies invest in play environments and objects and revert back to childhood fun to help stimulate ideas, communication and productivity.

So, next time a member of staff approaches you with a request for a ball pool, pinball machine, life-sized elephant or giant beanbags, just give it a moment’s thought – there really is method in the supposed madness.


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Julie Kilburn

This post was written by Julie Kilburn

Julie has more than 16 years experience of designing printed and digital collateral and has extensive knowledge Adobe Creative Suite. She has worked with clients in a range of sectors including arts, environment, healthcare, industry, technology, government and sport.

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