To see what all the fuss is about, Business Insider visited Facebook‘s Manhattan office in November … and let’s just say, we get it.
Here’s what we saw and learned during our tour:
We arrived at Facebook's Greenwich Village office on a mild Friday afternoon in November. Once we checked in, we were greeted by engineering director Jeff Reynar and corporate communications manager Jamil Walker.
The first thing that jumped out at us on the tour was this physical embodiment of a Facebook 'wall.' Reynar told us New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker recently stopped by to sign it. 'What's kind of fun about this is that there's a wall at most of our offices,' Reynar said. 'It's kind of temporary. At some point, we'll probably do some kind of construction and this will go away and we'll start a fresh one with new signatures.'
Across all of its 66 offices and data centres worldwide, Facebook -- which has a market cap of $A580 billion as of mid-May -- employs almost 19,000 people. About 1,000 of them work in the Frank Gehry-designed Manhattan location, which also houses members of the company's Instagram team. Facebook occupies four floors of the building, which was once a Wanamaker's department store.
Because the office is huge and employs so many workers, it can be easy to lose track of people. This screen allows you to type in a employee's name and it will show you where they sit.
Early on in our tour, we spotted the famous 'tiny room.' This space included a miniature deer head mounted on the wall, a little couch, and smaller versions of posters actually hanging in the office. Celebrities like singer Selena Gomez and model Ashley Graham have snapped photos in this spot and posted them to their Instagram pages.
Our next stop was the office's new media space, used for filming Facebook Live interviews. The spot features a fully-lit stage and a classic view of New York City. Reynar said celebrity sightings aren't rare around the Facebook office. He told Business Insider that members of the cast of 'Stranger Things' had swung by recently.
The Facebook New York office -- home to the engineering, sales, and HR teams, among others -- features an open layout.
'Though everybody has a desk in the middle of the floor, you'll also see that there are lots of quiet, tucked away corners where you can go sit on a couch, sit on a chair, and get some work done away from the hustle and bustle of your team,' Reynar said.
We asked Reynar about the culture. As we passed this sign, he explained that traditions like 'hackathons' are crucial for helping the company to maintain its startup feel as it grows.
We saw several snack bars around the office throughout our tour. All food and drinks are completely free (and unlimited!) for employees.
Facebook staffs a culinary team that works out of a fully-equipped commercial kitchen. Favourites include the pizza station, the salad bar, and the frozen yogurt, which is made in the office. The office even employs a pastry chef.
'The food is great and the menu is different every day, which is really nice,' Reynar said. 'We get breakfast, lunch, dinner and coffee. You don't always have to go out to a restaurant.' However, he notes that Facebook also encourages its employees to get out and explore the surrounding neighbourhood establishments.
When we visited, Facebook was in the process of building a second cafeteria in their New York office. In the meantime, Facebook employees enjoyed meals from these temporary subway-themed food trucks.
The perks aren't limited to the food. Employees can also enjoy board games or virtual reality sessions in the office.
Employees can also hit up this free vending machine if they ever needed batteries, a new mouse, or a new keyboard.
But this office's defining trait is its art. There are creative works scattered throughout the floors, created by visiting artists and employees alike.
Employees can design and print their own posters to decorate the walls at the office's analogue research laboratory.
There are also murals and posters around every corner. Much of the art reflects Facebook's values. These posters demonstrate the tech giant's support of gay pride ...
... as does this colourful flower wall. 'There's a lot of art that's influenced by openness, connectedness, and the company mission of connecting the world,' Reynar said.
'Rather than just going out and buying cool art and hanging it up somewhere, we get the artist to come in and make the art here,' Reynar said. 'It's kind of fun because not only do the employees get to hang out and chat with the artist about what they're doing and why, but Facebook sort of gets to influence the theme somewhat.'
Sometimes, decorating the office also allows for teams to collaborate on fun projects. These 'space hacks' involve figuring out creative ways to design or utilise spaces. This purple electrical display on the left is one example of a space hack.
Reynar said he watched from his desk as an artist painted this mural, which is a physical manifestation of the crowdsourced 'Manhattan Memories Map' -- a global project that asked New Yorkers to share memories on Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #manhattanmemoriesmap.
One of the most remarkable pieces of art hangs in the staircase between the eighth and seventh floors. This piece incorporates thousands of strands of thread connecting the ceiling to the floor. As you walk up the stairs, it shimmers and appears to move.
'I think both the kind of colourful nature of the space and all the comfortable seating and the art in particular would surprise a lot of people,' Reynar said. 'It's a little more vibrant than you might expect.'
Before we left, we checked out one final perk: a fantastic view of New York City. Reynar said that the Manhattan office's eclectic, industrial look is meant to both provide employees with a positive, vibrant workspace and reflect the motto, 'this journey is 1% finished.' 'It's supposed to look like a work in progress,' Reynar told Business Insider. 'We're only getting started.'
Jacquelyn Smith contributed to a previous version of this article.
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