The opportunity to see inside Linkedin, one of the most innovative and global aware companies, doesn’t come around every day. There is so much that sets this company apart from the traditional, it is hard to know where to begin. Let me start with the offices.
Linkedin has just opened their new Sydney office. It is located in Martin Place with the War Memorial just out the front and the entrance is surround with beautiful sandstone architecture; very traditional. However, traditional stops at this architecture and the amazing work ethic of those who work under the banner of the company. To find Linkedin you follow one of the trendy or eclectically dressed, early 30’s individuals to the lift, get out of the lift to see the 6ft logo made of the ever popular Havaiana thongs and walk past that into the open planned, warehouse style office space. Here you are transported to the hub that has made this company globally recognised for connecting like minded people in business of the 21st Century.
There are collaborative teams at personalised but communal work spaces. You could easily miss the ‘quiet’ spaces, which have doors and all the modern communication technology for when you have conference call or a meeting with a client. Each of these rooms is named after typically Australian iconic symbols such as ‘boardies or shark biscuit’.
As I walked in I felt like I was intruding as over to one side was a team having a collaborative discussion, at one of the many breakout or open spaces, talking strategy about the current problem or event. I leant down to my 5 year old son and asked him to make sure he was not too loud to interrupt the meeting. I am met with a smile from him and told ‘Dad, they are just talking.’
‘Yes, they are working.’ I replied.
He looks again and then smiles ‘Cool’.
I cannot help but think that this is what my son is growing up to understand work to be. The collaborative 21st Century Educational values are real here. This is really exciting.
The shift from tradition continued as there leaning against one of the columns that frame the picturesque views of Sydney, are some scooters and laying around on many desks are Nerf guns, prepped and ready for whenever they may be required.
Looking around some more you find the company-supplied and maintained kitchen, complete with an ever Aussie industrial sized and fitted BBQ and bar. There is a smaller kitchen up on the second floor. On the lower level you cannot miss the video games on two wall mounted monsters of a TV or the table tennis tables or the Daytona Racing arcade games that are off from the dining area. There is also a gym that runs classes at specific times throughout the day and then there are all the required facilities for showering as well as dedicated rooms for new mothers. It was mind blowing.
The second floor continues the idea of industrial with a loft feel. It is a mezzanine floor with many spaces that can allow for the two-story loft idea. Here there are the learning spaces, the big meeting spaces as well as informal meeting areas indicated by the sunken floor or the waist height table with a coffee machine on it.
Each of the learning hubs is a flexible space and has movable desks and chairs. The rooms are set up with cameras and highly sensitive microphones that connect the rest of the world to the room. This layout, technology and the globally conscious attitude of the company is exciting.
There is a sign post that has the cities where other Linkedin offices are located. Each city has the distances to them from this point which was also a nice touch to remind the Sydney team that they must think globally to compete locally.
Everyone clearly has their own set tasks but the freedom to complete these tasks appears limitless. This workplace feels like a home office. Close to all the comforts but adaptable and productive for work. People appeared focused but relaxed.
A job here is highly sought after and rightfully so even just for the amazing work environment. However, my interest was in the shift in understanding, on the companies part, to initiate this type of environment and culture within their work place. Freedom to work how you see fit, places to relax, areas to focus, time to exercise and seemingly endless opportunity in this case equals productivity and creativity.
This is what I am preparing my current students for. I love my job!