Anyone tasked with producing creative, innovative work in some gray, dimly lit cubicle knows how much of a hindrance an uninspiring space can be to productivity. Sure, employees can take steps to protect the productive sanctity of their workspaces — setting themselves up to be comfortable, taking regular breaks and resisting the hypnotic pull of YouTube, for example — but there’s plenty that businesses can do to help.
While many white collar workers still labor away in white-noise dystopias, the tech industry in particular has made itself a reputation for building stimulating work environments. Here, we take a look at three approaches to the modern tech workplace in three very different parts of town: Downtown Seattle, Ballard and SoDo.
Amperity’s intelligent data platform combines customer information from a wide array of sources to build three-dimensional customer profiles. The technology can then store those profiles within customizable databases, with the ability to segment in a way that suits a business’s need. Those profiles are designed to help marketers more accurately figure out customer needs and build personalized campaigns that better appeal to individuals.
The company is headquartered in downtown Seattle’s Columbia Center, the tallest building in the Northwest.
I see all of Mount Rainier from my desk! And if I get sick of that, I can walk ten yards and see Mount Baker or the Olympics.”
Address: 701 5th Avenue, Seattle
Space: 23,000 square feet
Why they love it: “I love that our office is wrapped in huge windows,” a machine learning data analyst from the company said. “Even when it’s raining, there is a ton of natural light, which creates an organic, calming atmosphere. Also, I see all of Mount Rainier from my desk! And if I get sick of that, I can walk ten yards and see Mount Baker or the Olympics. People invest a lot of time and money on views — and we get some of the best here for free!”
For a business to figure out how its pay rates compare with competitors, they once had to hire consulting firms to conduct annual surveys and use that data to create reports. The turnaround was slow, and the data was often outdated by the time it reached a business. Enter PayScale, which collects crowdsourced salary profiles from working professionals looking to see how much they’re worth in the wider market. PayScale collects, organizes and sells access to its large and endlessly updating dataset, along with software designed to build and manage compensation plans.
PayScale’s employees — known internally as “purple squirrels” — love their office’s blend of industrial history and modern amenities.
It’s a historical building, with so many awesome vintage industrial features — but remodeled recently with all of the modern amenities that a tech company needs.”
Address: 1000 1st Avenue South, Seattle
Space: 50,000 square feet
Why they love it: “Working out of our Seattle headquarters can be really inspiring,” Lead Employee Experience Specialist Erika Levitsis said. “It’s a historical building, with so many awesome vintage industrial features — but remodeled recently with all of the modern amenities that a tech company needs. We have a great communal space on the ground floor, complete with a kitchen, keg taps, big screens and bar stools. It’s the perfect place for us to house large meetings and our weekly company-sponsored Friday happy hour. My absolute favorite space is in the basement, however — where we’ve built out a gym/workout space for our employees to use, and where we even offer two free yoga classes each week for our Purple Squirrels to get their ‘downward dog’ in!”
Next time you’re in a conversation, keep an eye on everybody’s hands. The movements and gestures we make — often performed on some subconscious level — and our overall body language add vital nuance or subtlety to the words we’re saying and our attitude toward the speaker. Through its next-generation VR technology, Pluto seeks to add that level of nuance to virtual communication. Experiences that use Pluto’s technology — which has raised almost $14 million in funding to date — display both the heads and hands of a user’s avatar to represent their movement throughout a conversation.
The company is headquartered on Ballard’s industrial waterfront, just steps away from the neighborhood’s shopping, dining and drinking district, as well as the incredibly fancy Olympic Athletic Club — to which Pluto’s workers gain access as part of their employment.
The Ballard waterfront is always full of activity and viewable from the office.”
Address: 5245 Shilshole Ave NW, Seattle
Space: 12,000 square feet
Why they love it: “The Ballard waterfront is always full of activity and viewable from the office,” Pluto COO Steve Mauri said. “We also take advantage of the Old Ballard location for coffees, lunches and team happy hours. There is so much available within walking distance from Pluto.”