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From horizontal working pods, to a 'living jungle:' The coolest offices in the UK

Lianna Brinded
Head of Finance, Yahoo Finance UK
Photo: Glassdoor/Skyscanner

You spend more time in work than doing anything else in life. So, ideally, your office environment should be somewhere you enjoy being in.

There’s also a business case for this— greater productivity has been linked to making tweaks to the working environment. This includes adding more exposure to nature, which has been proven in studies to reduces stress as well as influencing our behavioural traits, such as prompting us to be more active. Even seemingly simple things, like greater exposure to natural light as well as being surrounded by artwork have all been shown in studies to boost productivity. 

Each year, jobs website Glassdoor puts together a list of some of the coolest offices in the UK, taking into account office surroundings as well as company culture or perks. It sent a selection of some of these companies to Yahoo Finance UK and below are seven of them.

Dr Martens

Photo: Glassdoor/Dr Martens

The shoe and clothing company prides itself on music being the “heartbeat” of the brand. It has a massive amp wall in reception and the meeting rooms themed around music genres such as punk, reggae, and Indie. It has a stage area with a drum kit as well as recording rooms. While it looks cool, it likely benefits from the sound of music—studies have shown that music can turbo-charge productivity

Reward Gateway

Photo: Glassdoor/Reward Gateway

The human resources consultancy says that it models its office and its culture on what it strives to help its customers achieve every day— attract, engage, and retain employees. For example, it does this by allowing staff to choose where they want to sit, rather than assigning desks, and kits out the office with beautiful designs and furnishings. It also has gender-neutral bathroom facilities accessorised by Danish company Vipp with products from Aesop and ghd. It also has a Tracey Emin installation called ‘Be Brave’ in the Cafe.

Ovo Energy

Photo: Glassdoor/OVO Energy

The energy supply company’s CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick said his mission was to turn the central Bristol office into a “living jungle.” The office has six trees in the main area ranging from 2.5m to a huge 8.0m, 500 balcony plants, and 100 standing plants.

While it’s pretty cool as a work environment, there’s even a treehouse where you can have meetings, a Harvard University paper showed that the cognitive performance of office workers surrounded by greenery was double that of those working in conventional work spaces.

ASOS

Photo: ASOS

The online fashion brand (ASC.L) turned a former tobacco factory in trendy Camden into a creative hub with an art deco vibe, filled with natural light and modern furnishings.

Unilever

Photo: KPF

The British-Dutch consumer goods company (ULVR.L) used architecture firm KPF to transform the iconic building 100 Victoria Embankment office into an environment that fulfils its agile workspace policy. The multi-floored London space is heavy on windows and internal glass walls to bring in natural light and incredibly spacious.

Gamesys

Photo: Glassdoor/Gamesys

The software developer clearly makes sure that the office is a big, bright place to work. You’re welcomed by a giant monkey and unlimited supply of sweets in reception while the breakout areas include a pool table and fridges full of beer, wine and soft drinks. Apparently during the Christmas season, they hire Mexican wrestlers or circus acts to roam around the office to keep spirits light.

Skyscanner

Photo: Glassdoor/Skyscanner

The travel fare aggregator website has one of the coolest and quirkiest offices in the UK. It has ‘squad rooms,’ individual horizontal pods (as seen above), as well as big, bright and naturally lit communal areas. The building is filled with plants and bright colours and the company takes staff wellness seriously— subsidised wellness sessions, such as yoga, and fun activities like table tennis, foosball, and an Xbox is available in the office.