For someone whose hack got him noticed by Google at just 18-years-old, it’s no surprised that Larry Gadea is still fascinated by hacks a decade later.
After interning with Google through college and working at Twitter for two years after graduation, Gadea decided to pursue his own startup. While searching for an idea, Gadea noticed that larger companies, like Apple and Google, had some in-house office hacks that didn’t seem to be accessible to smaller businesses.
In response, he founded Envoy, making it his business to make one specific office hack, visitor sign-in software, accessible for more than just the larger businesses. In a similar spirit, Envoy launched a podcast earlier this spring dedicated to exploring and sharing office hacks found in companies like Stitcher, Mozilla, and Slack. He also included instructional “how to” blog posts.
“It kind of came from the same idea of why we even started Envoy,” Gadea told Business Insider. “We noticed that people were building things in their own office and a lot of companies were just rebuilding the same thing … the point of [our podcast] Office Hacks is to kind of highlight some of the fun, quirky things that people are doing in their office to make it more efficient but also make it more enjoyable.”
Here are some of the best office hacks from startups.
At Weebly, employees pull a specific book on the book shelf and the door opens to reveal a hidden space.
Slack uses these 6.5' by 6.5' by 7' cubes on wheels as mobile meeting spaces. They can be repositioned anywhere in the office, changing up the traditional meeting.
Two mobile meeting booths can even be connected together to form a mobile conference room. The theoretical capacity, according to the podcast, is 12 people.
At Social Media Print Studio, where there is a fully stocked kitchen equipped with appliances and a company culture that promotes eating healthy, employees are shamed for eating microwavable meals by being forced to use the microwave in the middle of the office.
Envoy's own office hack is a customised gong to celebrate new customers, or 'a geeky way to make sales exciting in an engineering driven company.'
Hootsuite, unlike most startups, is located in Vancouver, Canada. To celebrate its Canadian heritage, the company has created a mini Canadian ski village inside its office. Cabins, named after famous ski hills, act as quiet work spaces for employees.
Pub Nub decided to hack the discrepancy between the demand for coffee and the amount of coffee actually in the pot (it was frequently empty) by purchasing a small weighing scale, breaking into it, and then connecting the sensor to the internet so employees can monitor the coffee level from the comfort of their desks.
Mozilla hooked this vinyl record player up to the internet to stream it digitally to every employee through their computers.
Taking a note from the infamous slide found at Google's campus, this Toronto-based advertising agency installed a giant slide in the middle of their 3-story office.
Rethink communications rethought the placement of the ping pong table and brought it into the boardroom. It's not only economical, but (hopefully) idea-inspiring.
Bottle Rocket Studios in Addison, Texas has rigged up an Amazon Dash Button, a severed rubber hand, and a chat messaging service so employees can send each other virtual high fives.
This Austin-based chat bot startup hacked group lunches by making the decision process easier through a chatbot in Slack where co-workers can vote for the type of food they're in the mood for or which restaurant sounds good.
Rethink also created this lego wall in its office to inspire employee creativity.