Airbnb is opening its first standalone call center in Portland, Oregon. But it’s a far cry from the grid of cubicles you’d expect.
Rather than windowless work stations where employees read off teleprompter-like screens, the open-space call center is appointed with shared desks, long couches, light wood, and exposed brick, reports Margaret Rhodes in Wired.
The 250 staffers who work there don’t even have traditional “desks.” Instead they are given “landing spots,” which are similar to the cubbies given to children in kindergarten.
The landing spots are small areas where teams of employees can drop off their personal items in the morning and leave their computers and gadgets to charge overnight.
The customer-service agents’ remaining time is spent working in a relaxed atmosphere. The call center features custom-designed conference rooms, couches for reclining, big communal tables, and small nooks for longer chats.
“You want a cave, but you also want a vista,” Aaron Harvey, coleader of Airbnb’s internal-environments design team, explains.
“In a typical environment, the cubicle is your world and the rest is the company’s world, and they’re very territorial about the cubicles. We wanted to evaporate that territorialism and turn it into a collective place.”