I spent today on Microsoft's Redmond, WA campus for the first day of the MSVP Vendor Summit. I haven't been here in a couple of months, and hadn't seen the "Commons," Microsoft's newest cluster of buildings on campus. I had a few minutes of down time to take a walk through it, and wow. Just wow.
One of the things I try to do at our company is to make it a fun place to be. In a service industry, where our people are our product, we need them at work and happy. So we have things like a pool table/conference table, a Zen room with massage chair, a basketball court, and a Wii. We have a masseuse come in periodically, and offer free snacks and drinks. The goal is that when an employee needs a break, they take it at the office. If they go home, they're staying there. If they can unwind at work, then they'll go back to work. Overall, I think it's worked (especially on days with a pancake breakfast...bacon makes everyone work harder).
So back to the Commons. This place is special. I've seen a bunch of offices with a nice cafeteria, even some with convenience stores and day care on site. But this place takes the cake. It's like a shopping mall in ... [More]