Microsoft is hoping to tap into the benefits of nature with a new treehouse meeting space, encouraging employees to re-think how they work.
The technology heavyweight said in a blog post that the “unexpected new meeting space”, accessed via an outdoor switchback ramp at its Redmond campus in Washington, is designed to help “employees benefit from what science shows is the powerful impact of nature on creativity, focus and happiness”.
The treehouse is one of a number of outdoor meeting spaces being created by builder Pete Nelson from the TV show Treehouse Masters, including two enclosed treehouses, along with an elevated roost, the Crow’s Nest.
Microsoft is effusive in its descriptions of the first treehouse:
“Twelve feet off the ground, treehouse number one features charred-wood walls and a soaring ceiling with a round skylight that lets in just a bubble of blue. It’s more Hobbit than HQ, with cinnamon-coloured shingles and a gingerbread-house feel.
“A hand-carved arched double door glides open at the swipe of a badge. The almost mustardy fragrance of rough-hewn cedar is instantaneous. Inside the small room nests a simple farmhouse table with rust-red seats. Box benches line the reclaimed-wood walls, dark as campfire smoke.”
The intention behind the new meeting spaces is also to bring more employees into contact with each other.
“We want to bring more human touch back into the workplace,” project head Bret Boulter says.
“For people to be the most productive and create the best products, we want them to have that opportunity for collaboration. Any employee can take their device outside, have a meeting — even in a treehouse — and be just as productive.”