It has been described as a frat house, a green haven, and one of the coolest places to work. Time recently took a tour of the Facebook campus in Menlo Park, Calif., to get a sense of what it’s like to work for the social network.
Time‘s Harry McCracken noted that in terms of architecture, times have definitely changed. In the past, businesses wanted neck-craning skyscrapers to announce to the world that they had arrived. The tech companies of today want campuses in another effort to lure fresh talent out of college. McCracken said that the spirit of Facebook, which started in Harvard dorm rooms, remains ultimately the same.
After moving from a few miles north from Palo Alto (home of Stanford University) to Menlo Park, Facebook took over the buildings left behind by Sun Microsystems, now a part of Oracle.
From the outside, Facebook’s campus is modest-looking — by design:
Like nearly all of the office space in Silicon Valley, the campus that Sun left behind is resolutely mundane from an architectural standpoint: You might mistake its anonymous-looking structures for a particularly expansive Courtyard by Marriott. That isn’t a problem. Actually, it’s in keeping with the company’s attitude about itself, which is that its work is incomplete and it therefore shouldn’t put on airs.
Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg wanted the company’s headquarters to match the style of the website: nondescript, essential, and open to customization. Inside, the ceiling tiles have been taken down and the carpet removed, showing the heating and cooling vents and the cement. Facebook employees are allowed and encouraged to make their workspace their own, decorating as they see fit. Furniture is changed periodically to keep a fresh look.
Art, done by Facebook employees and local artists, is all over the campus.
Looking for Zuckerberg’s office? You might be disappointed:
The first Facebook hacker of them all, Zuckerberg, sits in the building with the Hacker Co. sign. He doesn’t have a fancy executive suite. In the tech world, that’s nothing special; plenty of big-time executives work out of cubicles rather than offices, as a sign of solidarity with the foot soldiers and an acknowledgement that walls and doors tend to stifle collaboration.
Zuck, however, doesn’t even have a cube. Like everyone else at Facebook, he and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg work at tables that are out in open space and in close proximity to other employees sitting at similar tables. He does have a conference room to call his own, but it’s on Hacker Square, and passersby can peer in and see who he’s meeting with. (Presumably, it’s not where he struck the deal to buy Instagram.)
Readers: How would you decorate your workspace if you were hired by Facebook?
Image courtesy of Time.