How to Create a Workplace People Never Want to Leave, by Google's Christopher Coleman

Photograph by Elizabeth Renstrom for Bloomberg Businessweek

The No. 1 thing is to listen to what employees need. We found that they need a lot of diversity. There are so many ways to work—as a team, solo—and so many kinds of workers, from introverts to extroverts and so on. We create many different places so people can be as productive as possible—from formal and informal conference rooms to open spaces to stretching and yoga areas and gyms. One trick is to design spaces with a diversity of scale, light, and mood. It’s really hard to do, and it looks like we’re just making up these crazy spaces, but it’s very scientific. We have information from Googlers on what works and what doesn’t, we do post-occupancy surveys, we ask questions, and we listen very closely. When we design a space, we usually offer a few solutions people can react to. We go back to the drawing board, go down to two or three options, and pick one. Next we define aspects like mood, lighting, and furniture. Then we build it, and people are happy—hopefully.

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