Growing up in a log cabin inspired Abraham Lincoln on to greatness, maybe it’ll work for Twitter.
The social media company recently announced it will be adding two 19th century log cabins from Montana to its offices in San Francisco. The refurbished cabins will act as new dining areas for employees, as well as, perhaps, a source of inspiration. At least, this is what Olle Lundberg, the project’s head architect, has in mind.
“We’ve always had this sort of notion of the forest being a source of inspiration for design at Twitter — obviously there’s a link to the bird,” he told SFGate.com, referring to the company logo.
Though it seems like a strange move, adding unique perks is pretty run-of-the-mill for Silicon Valley companies. Google has a bowling alley and a walking trail. Facebook has a video arcade and a bike repair shop. Even Facebook’s advertising agency, the Portland, Ore., based Wieden+Kennedy has a “Nest” in its office.
(Weiden+Kennedy’s “nest.” Photo by intelligent design via Flickr)
This isn’t even the first addition for Twitter, which already boasts a rooftop garden, a yoga studio, an arcade, and a cupcake shop. But why? Why spend millions of dollars on perks that show no direct correlation to profit?
The answer is two-fold.
First, to compete. Google is notorious for poaching…er, recruiting the best and brightest minds in the world, meaning if you’re going to make it in the tech industry, you have to be able to lure talent. Employees are no longer looking solely for high salaries and great benefits; they need more. Perhaps a mint chocolate cupcake when they’re stumped and feeling burnt-out.
Which brings us to the second reason: to boost productivity. Tech companies claim that by offering strange perks, their employees actually get more done. “Outsiders see these things as an extravagance; the companies see them as a productivity tool,” says Standford professor and technology analyst Paul Saffo. Being stifled can be remedied by a change of scene—maybe to a bowling alley, where you’ll throw a 10-pound ball at what you pretend to be your associates, or to a 19th century log cabin from Montana, where you’ll enjoy Russian high tea and maybe an episode of Battlestar Galactica. (If you can watch just one, that is.)
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Do you run the type of services or tech company that has set up special areas to boost productivity, creativity or just to be as cool as Twitter? If so, we’d love to share your office on SmallBusiness.com. Use the comments below or send us an email to a href=”mailto:[email protected]>[email protected].
(Featured photo: Early 20th Century Montana log cabin, U.S. Archives via Flick)