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What this episode is about and why you should care

With the first tech boom in the late 90’s there was a mentality among startups that sent a clear message – We are never going to work in cubicles. Designers of workspaces followed that mentality and big open spaces emerged, ideally providing collaboration and communication between employees and helping “flatten” out their organizations. But, people didn’t just need collaboration, they needed focus, engagement, and an environment that represents who they are and how they want to work.

Culture, workflow, the physical environment, and engagement all became essential for workplace designers to focus on. This emphasis on the workspace creates an employee experience which in turn helps attract and retain top talent; a business imperative for any organization.

To explore this in more detail my guest for this week was Aaron Taylor Harvey who is the environments design lead at Air BnB who is responsible for creating their workspaces. We explored themes such as the impact that workspaces have on engagement and culture and how Aaron and AirBnB go about creating amazing workspaces for employees.

What you will learn in this episode

  • What impact does the physical space have on how the employees work?
  • How can you get people working intensely, collaboratively without creating walls?
  • What are the cultural symbols of privacy?
  • What are the components that people need for their work?
  • What is the office of Air BnB in Portland like?
  • What does an ideal office space look like and how do you create one?
  • Do cubicles have a place in the modern day organization?
  • What is it like to work at Air BnB?
  • Examples of different types of office setups and how they reflect a unique culture
  • The importance of creating a work experience

Links from the episode: