Sharknado And The Office Of The Future

July 16, 2013
Fast Horse headquarters

Fast Horse

What does the ideal workplace look like?

That’s the big question we’re trying to answer around here as we plan the expansion of the Fast Horse building.

No surprise, then, that a survey recently released by the global architecture firm Gensler caught my eye.

Gensler’s 2013 Workplace Performance Index examined design factors that impact productivity across the four key areas: focus, collaboration, learning and socializing.

Their findings? According to the Gensler report:

Employers who provide a spectrum of choices for when and where to work are seen as more innovative by their employees, have employees who are more satisfied with their jobs and report higher effectiveness scores across all four work modes. Employees without choice report low effectiveness and diminished experience. Those without choice cite organizational policy as the most common reason and are also less likely to have tools that support mobility and “anywhere” working, either inside or outside the office.

Seems like obvious stuff, huh? Create an environment that offers the best of collaborative and solo work and give people the tools to do both well and productivity and happiness will follow. But for some reason, that’s not the norm, and, from our experience, it’s also a difficult thing to maintain.

Fast Horse office

The main room at Fast Horse

Those who follow us with even mild interest probably have not escaped the fact that our headquarters building does not have any offices, and our employees do not even have a designated desk or work area. Our “work station” is different every day, and, in fact, it changes throughout the day. We give our people extraordinary opportunities to work when and where they are most productive, and frankly that’s been a big part of our secret sauce.

But the truth is that we are severely testing the limits of our ability to find the ideal balance Gensler cites. Our rapid growth has left us scrambling, and we’re very quickly reaching a tipping point. Our space no longer works well for us, which is why our planned expansion is so critical.

In the meantime, in the search for better balance, many of us have taken our “focus work” out of the office and are spending more and more time working at home. But we’ve also found that’s not ideal, and Gensler backs that up. According to their study, “increasing choice doesn’t mean working from home. Respondents with choice still spend the vast majority (70 percent) of their time in office settings. These respondents cite coming to work for access to people and resources.”

SharknadoSo true. Our greatest strength is what happens when we come together. It’s how most great ideas are conceived, how most problems are solved, how long-term relationships are cemented and company lore is created.

But, then again, sometimes you also just need to be able to tune out the witty Sharknado banter and get sh*t done.