From Taupe Walls to Beer Taps : the Story of Creating Our Fun Office
Since our founding Webconnex has called 455 Capitol Mall home. Our office was pretty average — we did have a ping-pong table, but beyond that, nothing special. Not great, not bad, just a regular office with taupe-colored walls and multicolored carpet that’s specifically designed to mask stains and spills.
But we were an unusual tenant for the building, and our office culture didn’t quite fit in the bland office template.
The average age of our staff is 25 years old and you rarely will find us wearing something other than flip flops and shorts. Every other tenant in the building was either a high-profile law firm, investment bank, or lobbying firm with similarly decorated office suites — big reception desk in the front, cubicles, and a photocopier the size of a refrigerator just out of view.
So when we finally outgrew our third floor space, we wanted to upgrade our space to create the best possible work environment. After all, we are asking people to come spend 25% of their lives in a specific location.
Our goal wasn’t to get more square footage — our goal was to create an atmosphere where people would actually want to come to work. We wanted people to look forward coming to the office and feel like the office inspired them to do great things.
We polled the office to get a sense of what people wanted when it comes to a working space. We took all their feedback and created a must-have list that we used in considering any new space.
By far, the single most requested amenity was lots of window. The role of natural light was important to everyone. Most of our team is active outdoors and enjoys a scenic view.
Secondly (and surprisingly), everyone wanted to keep the ping-pong table. When we walked through office spaces, we would pull out the tape measure to make sure every office space we considered would have ample room for the ping-pong table.
Third was the desire for no cubicles. While cubicles help optimize spatial planning, they are quite soul crushing for our youthful staff. People were happy to trade personal privacy for shared spaces in order to avoid anything that resembled a cubicle.This meant we needed to have an open layout that had lots of flexibility.
Finally, was the desire to have the office that had personality. Not just any personality, but one that reflected our company culture. We wanted our office to be completely different than anything else in the building and have a mix of fun and modern aesthetic.
We eventually settled on the sixth floor corner suite of our current 455 Capitol Mall building. There was no paint on the walls and it had bare concrete floors (which was perfect for us to craft our own combination). The space featured a great room in the center, and because the office was on the corner of the building, every perimeter room had views of downtown Sacramento. Perfect.
We instantly saw the potential and the ideas began to run wild. We commenced our mission to make a fun, productive, and slightly outrageous office space that matched our culture.
The only problem with the space was a 4-foot pony wall right that faced the front entrance. This wall was to support a reception area and receptionist to greet our visitors. The trouble with that is we didn’t (and still don’t) have a receptionist, so a front desk would be a complete waste of space.
There also was a small break room with a sink. We’ve never had a break room and really didn’t have use for a sink in a small room. We also wanted our office to be fun and relaxing enough to where a break room would be unnecessary. We convinced the building manager to let us reroute the plumbing from the break room and route it to the pony wall at the front entrance. We also asked that the pony wall be raised by 6 inches (an oddly specific request to them).
Our vision for that pony wall was to raise it 6 inches and create a full wrap around bar with with a beer tap. We didn’t disclose that fact immediately.
We hauled in granite, created a bar surround and installed a 2-inch foot rail all the way around. We even lit the bar panels with LED lights controlled by a remote control. After a dual tap keggerator and sink were installed, we were set. We had our master creation.
The in-office bar was just the start of many other creations and innovations we added over the next 60 days. Soon we were installing dark wood laminate floors, inventing a whiteboard alternative, creating feature walls and shoehorning a wine refrigerator below the microwave.
The end result was fantastic. Our team absolutely loves the office and they are continually making new traditions and adding to the office to make it their own. People outside our team love it too — we regularly have people come by to take pictures, host parties, enjoy a drink (the UPS guys occasionally) and even work on new ideas.
Here is a summary list of some of the features and amenities that can be found in our office:
- Wrap around bar with double keggerator
- Bar stools, footrail and LED backlighting controlled by remote
- Wine refrigerator
- Dark laminate floors
- Wood feature wall
- Recessed lighting
- Custom laser cut metal sign (with lighting)
- Multiple TVs
- Living room with leather sectional sofa
- Ping-pong table and paddle racks
- Custom made metal white boards
- Bike rack
- Whiskey / Spirits shelf
- Nintendo 64 connected to a big screen tv on wheels
- Wall stickers
- Kitchen, sink, and counter area
- Robot vacuum
- Custom farm table for support team
- Projector and screen to show the big game or watch The Office
- Useless Machine
- Live video conferencing camera
- Chromecast on every TV and projector
- Wall of Shame and Fame
- View of the new downtown arena
- Energy drink refrigerator
- Star Trek door sound effect device
Below are some photos of our office, but it’s way better in person. If you are ever in Sacramento, we would love for you to stop by and play us a game of ping-pong or just grab a drink. Just contact us.