This article from Cracked.com is so great and funny we had to re-post it here.You can read the full piece (with pictures) here.
If you have any interest in games or animation or technology, you’ve probably watched a “look how fun and crazy our workplace is” video or photo tour of some company. They’ll throw everything from scooters to Nerf guns at you to show you how their company is basically Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory if Willy Wonka made software.
But if you watch enough of these tours you start to notice the same things coming up again and again. Exactly how “out of the box” is something when every single one of your competitors is doing the exact same thing? Take a look at these things and you decide:
#9. Nerf Guns
#8. “Cool” Pop Culture Decorations
The thing about a “cool” workplace is it has to show off how trendy and current it is, so the decorations have to be the most popular Internet memes or whatever the Internet thinks is cool that day, like Charlie Sheen or some old school Star Wars-original Legos if possible (to show that they liked Star Wars before it was cool).
#7. Foosball Tables
It’s the same deal with foosball tables. If you have a foosball table and the employees enjoy it, that’s cool, but these things are virtually standard equipment in every tech and game company. Showing them off during a tour with the tone of, “Can you believe we have one of THESE?” is just kind of sad if this is the seventh time your visitor has heard the same spiel.
#6. “Creative” Conference Room Names
They often cross the line from a winky “We have a sense of humor and aren’t stuffy office types,” to an obnoxious “HEY LOOK AT ME I’M WACKY,” as seen in the Facebook conference names. Other offenders include SoftLayer, which names its conference rooms after obscure inside jokes, which I’m sure visiting vendors and consultants enjoy as much as adults enjoy hearing a gaggle of teenage girls joke about which one of them is the craaaziest.
#5. Office Dogs
As you can see, having an official dog is adorable, but it won’t exactly make your office stand out.
Probably the most common symbol of the wacky workplace is the Razor scooter, or a skateboard, or some other child’s toy that employees supposedly use to travel everywhere on campus. At this point, it’s been copied so much that you’ll probably have to have your CEO putting around on a Big Wheel to get any attention.
#3. Red Walls
Another thing that everybody does to stand out from each other that makes them all look alike is the red accent wall. Beige and white walls symbolize a dull, conventional office environment. Why not show how different you are by painting one wall bright red? Who else is going to do that? Other than Blend …
… Autodesk …
… Etsy …
… YouTube …
… TechStars …
… Valve …
… and many more, but you probably don’t want to sit here looking at red walls all day. If you do, I have good news for you, the tech sector is hiring.
#2. Orange Couches
Red accent walls have nothing on orange couches though. I know it’s easy to look at an orange couch and go, “What if we had THIS in the office? Everybody has office couches but nobody has ORANGE ones, since it’s such a bright and unconventional color!” Apparently about 100 tech company decorators went to their various IKEAs at the same time and had the exact same thought.
By this point, the frustrated office designer is tearing their hair out, seeing as every idea for making the office different is being used by every other office that wants be different. “But wait!” they go. “I’ve got it! What if, instead of using the stairs, you took a SLIDE from the second floor to the first floor! That’s NUTS!” Sure, no one else would think of that. Just every Silicon Valley firm in the ’90s. And every Google office today.
And some office complex in England.
This isn’t even a company. This is just an office building that some developer built and is going to rent out to a bunch of businesses, with the deal sweetener of, “Also, it has a slide.” That’s how ho-hum slides are now. You use them to sell office space to people.
Now a lot of these workplaces are a big step up from working at your average standard-cubicle distribution office or investment firm, sure. But the way they gush about these traits like they’re reinventing the workplace or something is ridiculous considering how many other companies are doing the exact same things, in the exact same colors even. As far as who’s really setting the bar for a “different” workplace, take a look at Inventionland:
Love it or hate it, you got to admit they don’t half-ass it when trying to make a “different” kind of office. They’re not just painting a wall red or bringing in a foosball table, they’re planting their employees in the middle of Disneyland! I don’t know if that helps them work or not but it sure is a commitment to being different.
When your average Nerf-gunning PR person brags to the media about how they’re doing wacky, creative things with offices that nobody’s done before, they should look at this place and hang their heads in shame. And then take down those stupid internet meme posters.
Christina H is the writer of this creative yet ordinary list of “cool” things now found in offices.