Startups often go to extreme measures to make their employees feel comfortable, appreciated, and even loved, with their work spaces, but not Procore Technologies, a California-based company that went to great lengths to confuse its employees and make them feel lost.
The office building the company occupies in Santa Barbara is beautiful, but step inside and you may feel, well, a little confused and disorientated. The layout, regularly described as 'chaotic', consists of splayed hallways, triangular conference rooms, with a notable lack of right (90 degree) angles to be found in the building. says Eric Corbett, owner of Kingdom Industry, the architectural firm which designed Procore Industry's new headquarters, "I don't know that there's a square room in the place; everything is at a 30 degree angle."
Every room is expressly designed to make you feel and get lost, though before you jump to conclusions about how this is some weird prank taken too far, there is a science behind this remarkable work space.
As neuroscience has shown, disorientation, something most of us go right out of our way to avoid, actually has some notable benefits, most outstandingly the way it keeps people expecting the unexpected, and therefore alert and observant.
There is bit of a contradiction here. After all, Procore designs and produces cloud-based management software for construction companies, software that orchestrates synchronicity, so its decision to base its operations from a disorientating labyrinth of an office seems rather odd for a company that draws its profits from efficiency.
"We wanted to develop a comfortability with chaotic environments. Construction is unbelievably chaotic," says Corbett, "You've got these old-timers, and you're putting an iPad in their hands, running the project off the cloud," he went on to say. "Procore seeks to bring clarity to that process."