In a previous life, I worked in an office. As the days of sitting in the same chair, at the same desk, staring at the same computer wore on, I often thought about how great it would be to have a change of scenery once in a while. If I could just be more mobile and do these red lines at a cafe instead. Make a phone call without worrying that everyone sitting around me would be unintentionally eavesdropping. Or have a place to work collaboratively with my coworkers that didn't require setting up a formal meeting. The space was open and industrial with lots of natural light and no private offices. It worked well, but I was often longing for more variety.
Thankfully, I'm not alone in this sentiment. Our environmental needs and values at work have changed dramatically over the past two decades. Many jobs can be completed and archived using only a laptop, reducing the need for dedicated workspaces and large scale storage in the office. Workers have demanded flexibility, amenities and a democratization of the workplace. Gone are the days of perimeter offices surrounding a sea of cubicles awash with fluorescent lighting.
This Airbnb office in Portland, OR takes the idea of a modern workplace to a whole new level. There isn’t a single assigned desk! Instead, employees are given a range of environments to choose from throughout the day. Some are tailored to active engagement and teamwork, others to quiet and focused activities. Personal items can be stored in lockable drawers which are integrated into custom standing height workstations. In my opinion, everything about this project is on point. I love how it not only reimagines what it means to go to work in a broad sense, but also incorporates Airbnb’s brand and values.