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Gurgaon News  | Gurgaon Blogs  |  Gurgaon Article

Companies like Google, Linkedin turn office spaces into happy zones for their employees
NEW DELHI:You go to work in offices that house a Taj Mahal-like setting that changes colours, meeting places built like a railway coach or an Ambassador car, a work area designed like a Las Vegas casino, bright orange or green holes-in-the-wall with comfortable seating... the idea of a workplace is changing rapidly, and moving away from drab, great cubicles and work stations.

Unsurprisingly, global trendsetter in workplace design, Google, is at the forefront of the change in India, too. Its new office in Gurgaon, with a Taj Mahal-like reception area, boasts of a mini golf course, a cricket pitch, napping pods and, yes, a railway coach. Google's Hyderabad office has the same philosophy of making workplace look like a fun place.

But Google isn't the only one. India offices of LinkedIn, Expedia, British Telecom, Unilever IT Centre are all extravagant experiments in workplace chic. ETtakes a tour of offices to get a measure of this ongoing workplace revolution.
When employees at Google India walk into their new offices in Gurgaon on Monday, they'll be moving into a space that aims to stimulate their minds by providing a fun environment, similar to the company's work spaces around the world.

The reception is inspired by the Taj Mahal—it's white but the colour keeps changing according to the time of the day. Inside there's a railway coach that can be used as an informal meeting area, apart from a mini golf course, a small cricket pitch, swings, grazing greens complete with sheep, napping pods, massage and sauna rooms, a gym and lots of food at micro kitchens.

"The office itself wears a warehouse look, which is a throwback to the beginnings of Google in a garage in Menlo Park, California," said a person who didn't want to be named.

Google did not confirm the details.

"The new office reinforces the culture of the organization and is attractive to the young—Gen X, Gen Y. People are happier and that promotes productivity," said Google spokesperson Paroma Roy Chowdhury.

Around the world, working at Google is meant to be fun. At some of its offices, including the one in Hyderabad, employees can use the Google Slide to travel from the higher floors to the ground level. Informal meeting places in Hyderabad include a houseboat, a cycle rickshaw, and an Ambassador car with seats facing each other.

Google isn't the only company creating smart, funky offices for people to work in. Other companies are bringing global practices to India, where the workforce is getting younger and work habits are changing.

More than half of India's population is under 24 today. The median age is around 27 and by 2020, India will have 28% of the world's workforce, according to a recent report by EY and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

"The younger employees kind of expect that. The idea that I need an office or an assigned station is more for the older generation. The younger folks just want a place to go, be fluid, and sit near each other. And it shows up in productivity as well. It's a talent strategy," said Anshul Jain, country chief executive at real estate consultancy and facilities management provider DTZ.

At the Gurgaon office of global professional networking site LinkedIn, the brightly coloured walls are a far cry from the boring fabricated structures most cubicle dwellers are used to. If you don't feel like working at your desk, pick up the laptop and move to a more comfortable bright orange or green hole-in-the-wall soft seating.

LinkedIn even tried to import London telephone booths to be used as phone enclosures, but when it couldn't, it used wallpaper to mimic the design.

LinkedIn India country manager Nishant Rao sits at a different area of the new Gurgaon office on various days to allow easier access to people.

The top bosses at Unilever's IT centre in Bangalore don't have any cabins and sit out in the open, like everyone else. Sri Lankan Rajan Anandan, the head of Google India, sits at a desk the size of everyone else's on the work floor.

In such offices you can often see groups of people standing together and scribbling ideas on a glass wall, sometimes discussing strategy around the pool table.

DTZ is moving to a new office soon where the reception area is like a lounge, the cafeteria opens up into a collaboration area and there is no fixed seating. Travel firm Expedia has themed its office around global destinations. One area in its India head office resembles a Las Vegas casino. The British Telecom office in Gurgaon is also designed in a similar fashion—hot-desking, several breakout areas, islands of seating for informal meetings.

Almost every client today wants a collaborative workspace, said Rajiv Mohan, managing director of corporate interior design firm Cherry Hill. "They are even willing to spend more on their offices to make them more appealing."

Source :indiatimes.com

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