Playful Spaces: Why The Office Won’t Just Be About Work

Dogs, slides, park benches, and swings. These words are often associated with outdoor parks and playgrounds, but never offices or corporate spaces.

This is changing.

Google slide in Google San Francisco

photo credit: Scott Beale / Flickr

The line that separates office and play blurs everyday. With a vibrant array of furniture, unique installations, and pet-friendly spaces, modern offices are becoming more like indoor playgrounds; with some work still required.

So why are dull and drab offices becoming more fun and sprightly? With technological advancements, many employees are choosing to work remotely. Yet, many organizations still understand the allure of workspaces being a place for employees to gather. As a result, companies are making their offices more appealing, creating incentive for employees to come to the office. It’s not unusual to see beanbags or colourful wall graffiti in a professional setting; but beanbags aren’t the only avant-garde seating offices are installing…

1. Swing, swing

Office swing


All work and no play, or just a longer than expected conference call, may leave even the most motivated manager drained. Yet at Sential One’s office, located in Tel Aviv, Israel, the company made sure to bring a little bit of the playground into their office. By incorporating large swings in common areas, employees can take a break, give themselves a place to think up a new idea, or just take a call away from their desk. The design provides a level of whimsy that visiting clients will notice, all while telling their workers a little play never hurts.

2. A worker’s hive

Worker's hive


Beige, eggshell and the less-exciting Pantone palettes are a usual staple for many office walls. But for Bombas’ company headquarters, located in New York City, the space is one that drives altruism and creativity just in its wallpaper. The e-commerce sock brand’s office features custom wallpaper, including hives and human-like bees, as well as woven light fixtures, reminiscent of a nursery room. These whimsical designs reflect Bombas’ playful and idiosyncratic company culture. The working bee imagery also plays to the company’s brand of camaraderie, teamwork and building something great together; which makes perfect sense for the walls of a boardroom.

3. Decorative Wood Letters

Wooden letters office decoration


Highly decorative wood letters and other home decor accents adorn Artdesk Group’s headquarters in Paris. The office decoration incorporates home-like features such as bookshelves, nooks and curtains, and makes employees and customers feel cozy and welcomed. The space also doesn’t shy away from incorporating child-like elements in their design theory, with the array of serif and san-serif letters, star and Eiffel tower-shaped lamps and classic wood table being reminiscent of a preschool. This makes the corporation’s brand feel unintimidating and jovial; reinforcing their organization as one you can trust.

4. Pets

Office pet


From Siberian Huskies to Labradoodles, many companies, including Amazon, Etsy, and Bitly, are allowing pets in the office. Studies have found that pet-friendly workplaces can reduce stress, enamour employees, and lead to happier work environments. Allowing pets in the office also raises company loyalty, and even allows dog owners to dedicate their time needed at the office; taking their pets out for a walk during lunches or at afternoon breaks, rather than rushing home to rescue their furry, cooped-up companions.

5. Splattered Paint Room

Splattered paint office room


Any new startups or tech company wants to make a splash in their industry, so Co-creating space Brain Embassy in Warsaw, Poland, takes these words to a literal level. Offering an imaginative space for startups and freelancers to get some work done, the space features a room with splattered paint walls and colourful chairs. One of the boardroom, as if Jackson Pollock himself took a wrong turn, displays paint on the glass walls and doors. It’s unorthodox, but in think tanks that can look sterile or uninspiring, it’s great to see new ideas being dreamt up in places deserving of the name.

Offices are no longer places just for work. For those who devote many hours to their job, more companies are recognizing that fun at work can boost productivity and morale, reduce sick days and most importantly, show clients, prospects or future employees what your company philosophy is about — all through the design you put forth. So whether it’s a bean bag or swing, or just allowing a puppy or two through your doors, you could leave an impression that extends farther than a good time.


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