A startup is commonly defined in three words: ideas, innovation and collaboration. The success of Silicon Valley tech companies has triggered a wave of startups not only in software development, but also in fashion, media and even agriculture. Why are today’s workforce drawn into these small businesses despite the high risk of failure? First, millennials are generally risk-takers. This young population chase after “meaning” and “purpose” as opposed to cash and blings. Second, startups encourage ideas and opinions—something traditional businesses leave to the bosses. Finally, the startup working environment is hip and fun.
Today, startups are competing to get the brightest talents in the market. One of the hiring strategies of these startup offices involve design ideas. It may be graffitis on the office walls, indoor gardens, a bar, entertainment areas, and even ergonomic chairs—whatever it takes to entice talent and encourage innovations.
Here’s a list of 9 cool startup offices you should know.
The green office of Paris startups
Studies show that green spaces have awesome benefits on human health. Living near a park or with lots of indoor plants has been linked to better physical and mental health as well as lower mortality rates. More companies are realizing the benefits of green offices to their employee’s overall well-being, thus many are infusing nature into their office design. French bank Credit Agricole erected a co-working space where it aims to bring together 100 startups in its Paris headquarters. Prominent in its design are high ceilings, large open spaces, and indoor plantation.
The vibrant hues of tech startup Panic
If you’re old enough to have spent your first professional years in a traditional office, you’d know the somber, even cold, atmosphere around white walls, gray cubicles, and fluorescent lamps. How different would it have been if you were surrounded with colors? Software developers at Portland-based Panic should know. Instead of lonesome cubicles, they share a long table with other team members, encouraging collaboration and sharing of ideas (perhaps, even snacks). The interior design of their office is simple yet fun, thanks to their rainbow-colored walls and floor.
The simply stylish space of fashion startup Everlane
There is beauty in simplicity. A startup office design is not always about vibrant colors or entertainment rooms. According to researchers at Princeton University, a cluttered environment can restrict one’s ability to focus. “Clutter” is not limited to disorganized desks. It also means too much colors and textures, creating a visual chaos. Employees at fashion startup Everlane are spared the distractions of loud design elements, enabling them to freely quench their creative juices. The large windows in their new San Francisco space allows natural light and air into their working areas.
The flexible spaces in content agency Conscious Minds
If you’re unlucky enough to have suffered at least two hours in a conference room talking about sales forecasts with your boss and your team, you most definitely know the real definition of “boring.” Startups are trying to redefine this by changing the atmosphere, or the design, of meeting rooms. In content and production agency Conscious Minds, closed-door meetings are transparent, literally. The glass-walled meeting rooms and “highly flexible space” allows its creative teams to stage scenarios for various clients. This Los Angeles office, built in an existing warehouse, has a kitchen, bar, library, and wall-to-wall spanning steps employees may lounge in.
The innovative breakout spaces at WeWork
Co-working is changing office spaces everywhere. This involves a “shared working environment,” typically housing startups and freelancers. Gone are the days when companies need to shell out tens of thousands of dollars for office leasing, interior design, furniture, and equipment. With a small amount of lease, you can now rent a co-working space where all your needs are provided for—desks, Internet connection, even free-flowing coffee. WeWork, a global co-working platform, houses hundreds of innovators. Its breakout spaces exude the coffees shop vibe, complete with long wooden tables, ergonomic chairs, and a snack bar.
Handsome collaboration spaces at Fullscreen
Imagine yourself drafting a proposal in a space overlooking a beautiful garden in the middle of a bustling city. Employees at media startup Fullscreen work in an awesome office with an outdoor garden accessible from the workspace (which looks more like a resort area than an office), a kitchen and game room, a kitchenette and spacious workspaces. If this Los Angeles-based startup aims to stimulate creative thinking in its jaw-dropping interior design, it’s winning a gold medal.
Work and relaxation at travel search engine startup Skyscanner
All work, no play? What about work and play in the office? In the Budapest office of flight search engine Skyscanner, you can do both—with style. This startup has grassy areas (indoor and outdoor), cocoons, chill-out rooms, and lots of beanbags and sofas both for working and resting. The glass ceiling in one of the collaboration spaces allows natural light in and has a beautiful view of the Hungarian skies. There’s a snack bar/kitchenette, a bike parking area, and swings. Yes, swings designed for adult innovators.
Pretty collaborations at fashion startup Nasty Girl
Startups are all about brainstorming, collaborations, and realizing concepts. No wonder startup offices have a common theme: open spaces and workspaces with minimal or zero enclosure. Fashion startup Nasty Gal has an open-space interior design in its Los Angeles office, adorned with vintage furniture—true to the core of its business: vintage fashion. The office designer Bestor Architecture kept the original elements of historic buildings in the city such as concrete trusses, brick, and marble flooring. “The hub (café) pulls all circulation to encourage mixing,” it notes.
Insert your startup here
You have skills, talents, and a concept for a new product. Still, you can’t leave your 8-to-5 job for various reasons—with capital on top of the list. You must know that governments and the private sector are giving their full support to entrepreneurship and there’s a wide range of financing options for you. You don’t need your life’s savings to set up your office. Great things start small, and your startup can begin in your home. Explore small space designs that don’t need costly designer fees or furniture. A small space and a speck of creativity are all you need!
If you’re still procrastinating on fulfilling your dreams, entrepreneur Nolan Bushnell has some words of wisdom for you: “A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”