Art and communal space

After I wrote my post on the new Facebook office spaces, my friend Andy made me put my money where my mouth was and invited me to Facebook to tour the offices for myself. Since that was one of my most commented upon posts I couldn’t pass up the chance to see the campus for myself.

@awelfle shows me how to find my way around Facebook on the touchscreen. I can find his desk, the Sweet Shop or the Instagram offices now.

Alan Turing Art from Dominos

Was the campus overwhelmingly large? Yes. So much so that there are shuttle buses and bicycles to get people from building to building. But is also filled with light and art and posters and a sense of play. It was also a lot quieter than I expected it to be. People were very respectful of the open seating and kept their voices down in the open areas. They used the closed conference rooms and outdoor areas, the coffee shops and other communal areas for conversations. It was actually a very congenial environment and not at all what I was expecting.

Outside the Facebook coffeshop

There was so much art. And posters and graphics all pinned haphazardly to the walls which gave the space a casual vibe and made it feel partially like a college campus and partially like Disneyland for coders.

Even the stairs are artified

I also work in a large office with tons of cubicles and an ongoing attempt to have “open seating” despite the photo from the previous post, Facebook’s space actually has a warm comfortable vibe of a loft apartment rather than a corporate office that stripped all the walls out of the cubicles. Each employees space has personal touches that show their personality, some more than others, of course. Some folks work on large desktop machines while others work on laptops to be more mobile. Some people work on mobile apps and just wander around with their phone in their hands. What a way to function!

Outdoor area at Bldg 20

All in all, it was an inspiring day and I feel quite differently about the landscape, both inside and out, of the Facebook offices. And I’m supremely jealous that the weather is such in California that Facebook employees can essentially work outside in the roof garden 11 months out of the year. Makes me dread January in KC.

Rooftop gardens, Bldg 20

For even more photos, check out my full Facebook HQ album on Flickr. And yes, I’m eating my words a little now. At least they taste like asian noodle bowl and mint chocolate chip ice cream.

2 Comments on A New Perspective on the Facebook Office

  1. Thank you for coming and it was so wonderful to meet you in-person, finally! The office is pretty cray, but it does look a lot more orderly and beautiful down floor-level than in those aerial headshots. I had a great time eating noodles and ice cream with you and talking about Murder She Wrote. 😀

  2. I’ve tried this in the workplace, and I am still exposed to it sometimes when working on site at a customer location. It is bad for serious professional work. You deserve a private space to be alone and think, to invite collaboration yet maintain hierarchy, and finally a place where you can comfortably, privately, and professionally communicate with others electronically via telephone and video. The dress code is always business formal. This is called a “real” office, and it makes all the difference in the world. It fosters professionalism, self respect, and respect for others. Try it. Your productivity will increase, retention will increase, and most important – quality will rise. After the change you’ll feel it as soon as you enter the the door in the morning – pride and respect for what happens in the building.

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