This article landed in my Twitter timeline today. A countdown of the UK’s coolest offices. Apparently (as I could only bring myself to read some of it), the list contains offices with rotating fairground rides, reggae rooms and living jungles (whatever they are). I am betting that there is also a mix of zany colours, bean bags and maybe a football table or two in the mix.
I cant’ think of anywhere I would want to work less.
Cool is all too often style over substance. Personally, I’d rather work for somewhere that has inspirational leaders, a great organisational culture, decent tech for me to use. I don’t need clouds painted on the ceiling (yes, I have seen this with my own eyes); I need somewhere that I can think. I want to work somewhere that will help me to develop, cares about my wellbeing, allows me to be creative and contribute.
A fairground ride will not make any of these things happen. It won’t impact productivity for the better, create employee engagement, inspire people to be their best or achieve their objectives. If you are lucky it might create a laugh or two in the workplace when it’s first launched. It will no doubt provide for some fun Instagram shots for the social feeds.
But to me, it just feels like the modern day equivalent of putting up a sign that says ‘you don’t have to be crazy to work here, but it helps’.
If you have money to spare in your corporate budget, I’d suggest that there will always be a better, more impactful way to spend it than installing a slide or a drum kit in the office. (Memo, you are not Google, and neither is anyone else but Google).
As my friend Neil Usher said, cool is dead.
We don’t need more gimmicks. We need better workplaces for all.