DATE: 02/29/2016

When it comes to modern office design and workplace innovation, few do it better than Google.

Even Hollywood couldn’t help itself from penning a screenplay based on the search engine giant. Starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, The Internship is set at the company’s Palo Alto, California headquarters. But just what is it about Google that has us all so fascinated?

Besides those entertaining logo animations that coincide with major holidays on the search engine’s home page, of course. Put simply, it’s their seeming ability to prioritize fun and still get work done. Over the past 10 years, the company has been on a permanent hiring spree, adding more than 8,000 employees in 2014 alone.

The Wall Street Journal was lucky enough to score a tour of the company’s NYC office. After watching the video below, we’ve identified 5 features you can begin incorporating into your San Antonio office now:

Let Environment Inform Design

When visiting the company’s Chelsea branch, there’s no forgetting what city you are in. The Big Apple is on display, featuring taxicab photo art, brick-apartment themed breakout spaces and graffitied privacy stations. One of the easiest ways to bring personality into any office space, is to allow the environment of its city to inspire its design.

With a city as culturally rich as San Antonio, and a state as diverse as Texas, you will have many ideas to choose from. The important thing is to choose elements that align with your company culture and brand.

Make Private Enclaves Plentiful

Despite their reputation for encouraging group work, the most effective collaborative spaces include plentiful private enclaves. It’s no secret amongst space planners that sound privacy routinely ranks as the no.1 grievance against open offices. Hasty companies ignore the issue, and smart companies, like Google, plan ahead. Whether you choose to provide multi-use compact rooms, privacy pods or some other solution, make sure you’re providing plentiful options for solitude.

Encourage Cross-Team Interaction

Casual collisions are important. According to Laura Gimpel, Google regional facilities manager, they are the primary goal of the company’s design strategy.

“Whether it’s an elevator lobby with a couch, or whether it’s a micro-kitchen where you can get a cup of coffee or a snack and bump into someone who you might not work with everyday, but you have an opportunity to have a conversation that can inspire the next great idea,” she says.

Feed Your Staff

Google has another rule that wasn’t discussed in this video – no part of the office shall be more than 150 feet away from food. Whether it be a restaurant, cafeteria or micro-kitchen, Google relies on such “grazing areas” to bring people together. Do we know how many “million dollar ideas” come from such interactions? No.

Does it matter? Not really. Such collisions increase workplace enjoyment, and that enjoyment leads to greater motivation and productivity in the long-haul.

Invite Dogs to Work

At this point, numerous studies support allowing dogs into the workplace. Less stress, increased communication and increased productivity are just some of the benefits often cited. At no cost to the employer, creating a pro-pet policy is a cost-effective way to enhance employee satisfaction. Besides the stress-relieving benefits, such a policy lends the image of a company that is confident, relaxed and flexible – all appealing qualities to potential clients.

Are you ready to take a page from Google? Click Here to book a free consultation today.