Fuck Yeah Whiteboards!?
October 4, 2011 3:37 PM   Subscribe

After burning out on all the websites and Flickr groups glorifying simple desks and minimal workspaces, I'm ready for something more hardcore. Are there websites out there where I can see pictures of awesomely productive workspaces (big whiteboards, multimedia behemoths, Google-esque brainstorming spaces, etc)?

If it helps, my interest is driven with a current fascination with my big university's research commons, that offers a bunch of giant whiteboards, whiteboard tables, multimedia screens with semicircular chairs around them, and all sorts of other productive stuff. Bonus points if they come with tips about how to replicate the space cheaply myself.
posted by Apropos of Something to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
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posted by Telpethoron at 4:13 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Are you really interested in "productive" or "impressive"? Because none of the things you describe actually have anything being produced. We have whiteboards in my office. For certain things, the bigger ones are nicer, but I can remember a particularly productive conversation between three engineers in which we designed a thread-safe JSON library's locking model. We did this in a regular office with a regular whiteboard. We build the world's highest-volume web servers and most of us work on macbook pros. Some people have two monitors. Nobody has "multimedia screens with semicircular chairs around them" probably cause nobody can think of how that's going to make us produce any more than we already do.

It's only "productive" if it helps you get more work done. I do half my work sitting on my couch with my laptop. It just looks like a couch and a laptop, but it's plenty productive.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 4:15 PM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

I acknowledge both that these images aren't representative of how actual productivity works, but that they might also fill some other urge in my life.
posted by Apropos of Something at 3:38 PM on October 5, 2011

Don't give up hope! I had been on a similar quest for decking out my startup and had to compile a bunch of photos myself to help brainstorm the best solutions for our 30,000 sq ft office space. At the time, I used Flickr, desiretoinspire, random architecture sites, and hotel websites to do this. Unfortunately don't know of any one great site that aggregates all this, but I put my collection of photos here for you. Since you mention Google, a number of the photos are from various Google campus buildings worldwide. Since we didn't have a Google-esque budget, we had to get a bit creative.

Our company is over 50% engineering & product, so expected to use whiteboards a lot, and needed good meeting rooms that would facilitate discussions & brainstorming. In general, we wanted a ton of whiteboard space (as nothing's worse than explaining a complex idea and running out of room in mid-thought, and having to decide what to erase to get everything down). I found a company that manufactures whiteboard walls. These are big particleboard-backed sheets that come in different sizes, and are easy to mount and install. You can also use whiteboard paint, but I've heard that the paint doesn't hold up well after years of heavy use, so we opted for the walls instead. We ordered from this company, and the customer support was great.

We also wanted to encourage informal collaboration, and built spaces that were reserved solely for fun / goofing-off. In my research, I had found companies that manufactures yurts, children's playground equipment, arcade rooms, and much more. If you want I can try to dig some of them up to post here. But ultimately, what was most successful was the bar (with a fully stocked liquor supply, fridge, and blender, natch), the game room, pingpong & foosball tables, and lots of small, cozier hangout spots. Hope that helps.
posted by hampanda at 2:59 AM on October 6, 2011

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