Creating a home away from home in our new office
While our Berlin-based team has spent the last few years spread out between several local offices, we are now looking forward to being reunited next Spring in Prenzlauer Berg’s Ampere building. Marcus Whistler, Head of Technical Support, who has been involved in designing the new office discusses the guiding principles of the project in today’s post.
Home Away from Home
We spend a considerable amount of our time in the office, so we want to create a space that feels as homey as it does innovative. As an international company, made up of people from 55+ nationalities, many of us have moved halfway around the world to work at GetYourGuide. Therefore, creating office spaces that feel welcoming, comforting, and like a home away from home is key.
We hope to make this transition from home to office as seamless as possible and will do so by ensuring everything our team needs throughout the day is available:
We will offer healthy food and beverages to nourish their minds and bodies and are opening a coffee shop to provide that daily caffeine fix as well as a casual meeting space.
Our new wellness center will allow us to provide yoga and meditation classes in-house and add further interval training classes. This studio is the place to get in the zone, sweat it out, and unwind.
Everyone at GetYourGuide works hard, and the new office will foster this high level of productivity and innovation while also providing all the necessities one needs to feel at home.
Creating a space that is as frictionless as possible
Our office might be new for us, but the building itself is a historical landmark, dating back to 1926. Given its historical standing, we have noticed many parallels between what we want to achieve in our workspace and what we have achieved with our product.
Ampere is an old historical attraction that can be difficult to navigate and has some restrictions on what can be done in the space. So, similar to our product, we will attempt to use technology to solve these problems. We want to remove the friction caused by the above-mentioned hurdles and make it a pleasure to work within.
Moving into Ampere, we also want to solve the problems that cause friction in our current office. One hurdle to overcome is room booking. We have many meeting rooms onsite, but even with this bounty, it can still be challenging to find a room available to book.
Sometimes our employees will try to book a room and there are none listed. Then, at the desired meeting time, they’ll stumble upon a booked meeting room that is, in fact, empty. Standing 1:1s that get cancelled or weekly check-ins accomplished over lunch often fail to make it off the calendar, meaning rooms remain booked, but unused.
In addition to more meeting rooms in our new building, we will also have a system that can sense whether or not a meeting room is occupied. If a room is booked but is not occupied within five minutes, the room automatically reappears on the calendar and is free to be booked. This will ensure everyone has the meeting room they need, when they need it.
An efficient collaboration space
Ultimately, neither its historic status nor its perks, are as important as how Ampere functions as a work space, fostering both collaborative and independent work.
In this space, we want to provide all employees with the tools they need to be as effective and efficient as possible regardless of their role or workstyle.
To find out exactly what the space should look like, we did surveys to see what employees valued and what was missing. The responses showed people wanted a space that boosted productivity and having independent, quiet working spaces available would make that happen. So, we opted for smaller desks and more breakout spaces. People aren’t tied to their desks and can instead find solace by tucking into one of the many nooks and crannies around the building and completing their task.
On the flip side, we also need spaces that promote collaboration and the exchange of new ideas. We have spent a lot of time understanding how teams work and interact with each other, creating flexible breakout spaces that were self-sufficient - equipped with everything a team might need to get the job done.
Our campus as an attraction
To explain this last point, I want to provide a little bit of context by way of our recent new venture: GetYourGuide Originals. In its inception, we thought of this program as a way to give back to our customers and the tourism industry by using all that it had given us - all of the reviews, the testimonials, and the data we had access to. We took this data and turned it into something useful, a curated line of GetYourGuide-branded experiences guaranteed to delight customers.
We feel the same with this building.
We have all of the space and all of the history of the building in our hands, and we have a duty to share this with GetYourGuide employees and the public through creating memorable spaces perfect for hosting community events, meetups, and more.
In unexpected moments throughout our new workspace, we want to recreate the same sense of wonder in the office that you feel when you go on a trip. We will achieve this through creating “hero” spaces that deliver an incredible experience. Imagine walking in for an interview with us and all of a sudden you are in a tea room straight from Kyoto. It’s this memorable moment, this incredible experience, we want to give everyone who steps foot inside.