Last week, I had the opportunity to travel to Mountain View, CA, to work with Intuit on various projects. At its headquarters, Intuit has a number of buildings for employees, some of which are 15-20+ years old.
The company’s newest facility, “Building 20” opened last fall – and was I ever wowed by the design and architecture, but more than that, I admired the space planning that allowed for huge amounts of continuous collaboration. Business Insider did a good job of profiling the building in this article that includes a slide show with lots of photos, and other cool stuff about the architecture.
Why is the design so important? I witnessed group after group meeting in various configuration. Yes, Intuit has lots of traditional meeting rooms that can be reserved through a central system, but also has many other places to meet, including small areas with chairs & couches, booth-style seating near coffee bars on every floor, and even a rooftop deck.
What was impressive, at least to me, was the “spirit” of the environment; it seemed to me everyone really wanted to be there, working and getting things done. I know this goes on in a lot of companies and isn’t anything necessarily new, but I’m not privy to large company environments very often … so, therefore, I am really impressed by it.
Intuit also has cube farms – again, like other companies – in rows rather than configured squares. This is the newest trend (which isn’t all that new anymore) for cubes, but I can’t say it makes the employees more productive. I asked about productivity – and the answers were all across the board.
It would be great for more companies to examine their spaces and determine how to work more efficiently!