An Apple a Day Keeps the Employees Away

If you count yourself as one of Apple’s many über fans, you’ve probably been hearing about their new headquarters. They’ve been in the process of building it for years, and it’s finally done (or almost there). However, much like their latest iPhones, the design of this new campus is somewhat of a disappointment. In an attempt to break from the traditional, Apple put architectural firm Foster + Partners in charge of designing a totally open space, incorporating shared tables and glass walls rather than having closed off, individual offices.

Their attempt may have been to encourage collaboration and teamwork through such a design, but they did not take into account the fact that people enjoy having a space to call their own while at work. So far, they’ve gotten negative feedback from several employees scheduled to move to the new campus by the end of the year–one department head flat out refused to work in the building and built a separate set of offices for his team alone.

Intentionally or not, Apple has provided a great example of the rift between modern and traditional in the office design world. Those with an eye toward the future are interested in more modern design concepts, like coworking (renting out space in a designated office building among other companies rather than having your own) or thirdspace design (making the office feel not like work, not like home, but something in between). Traditionalists continue to rely on longtime office staples such as designated conference rooms, cubicles, and private offices. So which side should you emulate when (re)designing your own office?

Perhaps the answer isn’t so black and white. Incorporating features of both and maintaining a happy balance might be the surest path to employee satisfaction. If you choose to channel your inner Apple by emphasizing shared work spaces in your office, then make sure to offer private office space and somewhat closed-off cubicles to assuage the employees who prefer a more conventional setup.

However, if you’re looking for more creative ways to send workplace satisfaction through the roof, you could always take a leaf out of Google’s book and provide napping pods and a free juice bar…

Google headquarters