Seven office common areas that make a good first impression

The spaces where employees meet, work, and socialize can offer a strong narrative about a company’s culture

An office’s vibe might be intangible, but anyone can identify a positive, high-energy workspace when they experience it: Employees are upbeat and interacting with each other; they look inspired and motivated. The office is bright with natural daylight and vibrant decor. One might even hear music playing or smell fresh coffee brewing.

The physical workspace is becoming more important to attracting and retaining talent. A WeWork and Reuters survey found that when U.S. employees were asked what would make them more satisfied with their jobs, the top ask was for better work areas/facilities, even above higher pay, better hours, and more vacation time. 

This is why forward-thinking companies are investing more in their office common areas. These spaces can serve as the center of energy for an organization. Common areas help keep employees engaged, giving them a place to connect with teammates or work in a more comfortable, informal setting. What’s more, common areas can set the tone for a company’s overall corporate culture. What first impression is your workplace making to prospective talent and customers who walk in?

The ideal common area includes a variety of seating arrangements for the various tasks employees need to complete throughout the day: informal meetings, group discussions, solo heads-down work, and places for private conversations. Take a look at these common areas designed to inspire employees, keep energy high, and drive productivity.

Seoul, South Korea

The main lounge at WeWork Yeouido Station features cozy, curved couches for socializing; small, colorful booths for collaborating; and long tables where employees can catch up on work while grabbing a snack. The décor is inviting with natural lighting and hanging greenery.

Paris, France

The common area at WeWork 198 Avenue de France has both soft seating for informal chats with coworkers and workstations for those needing heads-down time. The open glass walls create a sense of nearness and transparency that encourages open communication.

Bengaluru, India

From the indoor-garden stadium seating to the dramatic wall art to the soothing shades of mauve and maroon, this multilevel common area at WeWork Galaxy welcomes everyone. The space is cleverly divided into different activity zones, too, each one bright and airy.

Shenzhen, China

With a sleek, long counter, cozy red booths, and comfortable chairs, the kitchen at WeWork CCCS is a place for gathering as well as eating. The modern art mural and floor-to-very-high-ceiling window wall offers views of the city outside.

Bengaluru, India

The modern industrial ceiling and vibrant artwork at WeWork Embassy Tech Village signal that you’re in a creative work environment. The bench-style seating encourages communal meals, while the couches provide the perfect spot for casual meetings.

Seoul, South Korea

There’s a space type for every employee in WeWork Designer Club’s common area: open-layout work tables, window cushioned seating, and sectionals for group gatherings. The domed ceiling and pops of color from the pillows, potted plants, and upholstery create a high-energy vibe.

Berlin, Germany

WeWork Stralauer Allee 6 offers a unique space, with metallic columns and colorful sculptures. The curved stair seating, bright blue couches, and work tables beckon teams to come together.

This article was originally published on October 8, 2019, and has been updated throughout by the editors.

Dawn Papandrea is a freelance writer who covers work, personal finance, and higher education. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Family Circle and Follow her on Twitter.

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