There’s no daydreaming about being outside at Microsoft Corp.’s new meeting spaces. You literally are in the great outdoors.
Last week, Microsoft MSFT, +0.48% unveiled a network of treehouses on its Redmond, Wash., campus, as part of an effort to boost employees’ creativity and happiness. Sitting 12 feet off the ground, the treehouses feature skylights, WiFi, hidden wall plugs and even a gas fireplace. Two structures are now open for use, with a third opening later this year. There’s also a “Crow’s Nest” observation post.
“People said, given the opportunity, they would work more outside,” project manager Bret Boulter said in a Microsoft blog post. “The first thing when you walk into the space is that everyone is really quiet. You stop talking and are just present,” he said. “It’s fascinating. People absorb the environment, and it changes the perception of their work and how they can do it.”
The treehouses feature meeting rooms open to all employees and lounge spaces. ”Nothing formal,” said Genise Dawson, a Microsoft administrator who helped plan the project. “A place you can chill inside or out of, sit, work.”
The treehouses are part of Microsoft’s “outdoor districts” connected to buildings on the company’s 500-acre forested campus.
“With their workspace turned inside out and meetings taking place up in the foliage employees are figuring out how to rethink what working looks like,” Microsoft said.
The treehouses were built by Pete Nelson, who’s known for his TV series “Treehouse Masters” on Discovery Communications’ DISCA, -0.21% Animal Planet.