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Tech Tenants Are Designing Offices For The Ways People Work

From Apple’s newest spaceship-like campus to Google’s proposed canopy office in Mountain View, Silicon Valley has among the most innovative offices. Yahoo is no different, remaking its offices on a global scale to better suit the needs of its employees.

Yahoo's office in Playa Vista

Yahoo has been transforming its offices globally from cubicles with high walls to an open floor plan over the last three years, according to John Bruno, Yahoo vice president of global real estate, workplace and procurement.

Desks are next to one another and team meeting rooms and conference rooms are available. The desire for greater collaboration means building bleachers, an open space meeting area or amenities with small kitchens and break rooms all connected to robust WiFi.

Yahoo's office in San Francisco

The change has become necessary because of shifts in how people work. Previously software engineers would be tied to their cubicles because they had three different operating systems for coding that were not mobile. Because of robust IT structure, most engineers can now work on laptops anywhere on campus as long as they are connected to the internal network, according to Bruno.

The new office design has a sophisticated office palette with muted dark grays, whites, woods and chrome. Bruno said employees bring color to the office with their own decorations, which are accentuated with photos from Yahoo-owned Flickr hung throughout the office.

Yahoo vice president of global real estate, workplace and procurement John Bruno

“I can never envision a scenario where I would go back to an office,” Bruno said. “It certainly allows us to create closer, better working relationships.”

Among the trends affecting tech companies within the last five or six years is the urbanization of the tech workforce. Most tech companies over the last decade were relegated to Silicon Valley or the I-95 corridor in Boston. Sales and service teams were the only ones in the central business districts.

The next generation of workforce, which Bruno calls true urbanists, want to live, work and recreate in an urban environment. Now tech firms have a balance between a traditional Silicon Valley campus and offices in CBDs with large engineering teams.

Bruno said the only big difference between the urban office and the traditional tech campus is that urban offices often lack parking. Urban tech employees just use mass transit instead of driving to a campus and parking in a surface lot.

Yahoo's Sunnyvale headquarters

Silicon Valley remains a top location for tech talent and top tech companies continue to maintain their corporate presences here.

“Our corporate headquarters in Sunnyvale, in the heart of Silicon Valley, allows us to recruit and retain high-quality talent in a variety of engineering capacities,” Bruno said.

Additionally, Yahoo leases properties in high-quality buildings owned by reputable companies to be closer to its customer base. Yahoo’s real estate portfolio is 4M SF globally. Bruno said he expects the merger with Verizon and the integration of AOL’s properties will lead to a much larger global footprint.

Find out more about how tech tenants are transforming office during Bisnow's Silicon Valley Workplace of the Future event May 10.