Snapchat cites its scattered beachfront offices as a risk to employee morale

Life by the beach is often a selling point when it comes to working at Snap Inc, the parent company of Snapchat.

In its early days, Snapchat moved from Evan Spiegel’s dad’s house to a beach bungalow. From there, it’s slowly eaten up Venice Beach’s available real estate — turning beachfront live/work condos into offices and buying out local restaurants to service as employee cafeterias.

Yet, its sprawling campus is also a risk to the company’s future, according to its S-1 filing. The company’s lack of a designated headquarters and jumble of office buildings could cause employee morale problems:

“This diffuse structure may prevent us from fostering positive employee morale and encouraging social interaction among our employees and different business units. Moreover, because our office buildings are dispersed throughout the area, we may be unable to adequately oversee employees and business functions,” the company said in a filing. “If we cannot compensate for these and other issues caused by this geographically dispersed office structure, we may lose employees, which could seriously harm our business.”

The spread-out offices — and lack of a central meeting space — is one concern that Business Insider has heard repeatedly from current and former employees.

The company’s offices are typically converted houses and condos, many just steps from the ocean and outfitted with unisex showers to wash sand off from the beach. Despite the idyllic oceanfront setting, the scattered offices can also foster a sense of isolation and fiefdom between teams, former employees once told Business Insider. If people have to work with multiple teams, like engineering and product design, meetings often entail a 15-minute walk through Venice Beach to get between buildings.

Many employees aren’t even aware where their colleagues or other Snap buildings are located. The only clue that a building belongs to Snap is usually a small ghost — the company’s iconic “Ghostface Chillah” logo — etched onto the front door. When CEO Evan Spiegel travels between his company’s scattered outposts, he normally has a Range Rover with a private driver transport him from building to building.

As the company looks to grow its headcount — it grew 210% in the last year — it will have to work on making sure its campus sprawl doesn’t become a detriment to its growth.

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