How can sales be increased and job satisfaction be improved? The secret is to let colleagues from different departments in a company to mingle. The result is magical.
Samsung, Yahoo, Facebook, Google… these are some of the world's largest companies and now share in common the fact that they are all building new headquarters based on the same mindset: the need to create workplaces that encourage mingle! The best ideas see the light of day when least expected. At the coffee station, in the corridor, in the coffee room...
"And definitely not when we sit stuck in front of our screens. Our new headquarters are built in a way that people literally cannot avoid each other," says Scott Birnbaum, Vice President at Samsung Semiconductor.
Thinking along the same lines, Facebook is building an office in California which is essentially one long room 1.5 kilometres long. The classic hierarchies are gone and it is now all about meeting each other across departmental boundaries.
"We have come a long way when the engineers eat lunch with the sales people," continues Scott.
When talking about office costs before it was always a discussion entirely about price per square metre. Now the discussion instead tends to deal with how to best utilise every square metre, which is often a much more interesting figure. Where can we get the best out of people at work? A good example is a large American pharmacy chain, which could not fathom why sales varied so much on a week to week basis. A decision was made to get their 50 best salespeople, who in total sold for a staggering 7 billion, to wear sensors. It showed that their sales figures increased by 10 per cent a week when they actively engaged with colleagues from other departments.