According to an article published by Fast Company, some of America’s most desirable companies for prospective employees share a creative culture enhanced by art as a common dominator. This culture attracts creative candidates who help the companies remain innovative. Facebook, IDEO, and Virgin America, for example, boast inspiring workspaces and provide activities that build community among employees and encourage fresh perspectives.
At IDEO, a design and consulting firm, employees encounter multiple personal projects lining the hallways, from a mural of Instagram photos to a mystery project in the making comprised of discarded items donated from staff. IDEO is “intentionally creating moments—spaces, walls to draw on, the piano, culture-building events—to [help employees] bring their whole selves to the workplace," says managing director Clark Scheffy. This sentiment is articulated in the company’s “Little Book of Ideo,” which illustrates the company’s cultural values.
Virgin America’s office and terminals are consistent with the company’s popular “party” brand—guests and employees are greeted with rock music and freshly cut flowers.
Facebook’s sparse office workspace is punctuated by larger than life art installations and murals created by rotating artists-in-residence. According to Drew Bennet who runs the program, “it’s allowing the community that is already engaged in so much creativity to have a reference, a backdrop of their reality, in a more tactile way." The company also offers employees the chance to participate in workshops for learning hands-on artistic endeavors, such as print making and wood working. By facilitating these classes, Facebook develops workplace skills that go beyond the computer screen.
"When I see designers pushing their personal edges, I get extremely excited," says Scheffy. "Of course, it's terrifying as well, and I prefer for it to happen at the beginning of a project when working with a client so we can recover and redirect if we need. But I constantly seek that magic space where we are challenged and pushing our limits. That's where the best work happens."
Photo: IDEO's Chicago office.