A few years ago, one of my clients determined that they should centralize their real estate and shift around workers to better optimize the facilities. Read – downsizing. I found this out from a student who was working on the project much later. All I knew was as contractors we had to be out of the building, and we might want to bring our computer equipment with us (and chairs, which I found out later).
So our development team was shuffled off from one of the nicest penthouse offices in the city, attached to a huge mall, next to the largest assortment of restaurants in the city, to a 1960s-design nuclear bunker disguised as an office.
We found out quickly that our small team of people had the run of the floor. Every chair was broken, and designed before Herman Miller got out of high school. There was a doomsday clock attached to the ceiling in the centre of the floor. It didn’t work either. The decor was styled with vintage warning signs. “Danger due to acid.” “Diesel generators – do not open this door!”.
It was a great work environment that motivated me to work from home (and other client locations) much more often.
Phil Factor reminded me about this, and has a funny story about how location is sometimes more important than appearance or prestige.
My friend, with some exaggeration, explained that the management had decided that it seemed wrong to give any offices of a major retail bank the appearance of a deserted building, so all contractors were given offices near the windows.