Creating an Entrepreneurial Culture

“A lot of the stuff we do, both from the Zappos perspective in terms of employees within the office and the city level is really thinking about how do you get people to collide more often. We prioritized collisions over convenience.” – Tony Hsieh

Whether it was a small apartment or a few spaces in an office park, Zappos has always had an open floor plan. Picture an open office as a space without walls, with work stations side by side, allowing for approximately 100 square feet per person. “From a cultural perspective, we’ve never had offices at Zappos,” said Rob Timoshuk, Director of Operations, “it’s very important that we don’t.” As Zappos has grown, it has faced familiar business challenges: more employees mean more square footage needs, and accommodating for growth has always been a top-of-mind concern for the company. Brad Tomm, Senior Manager of Campus Operations and Sustainability, points out that typically as companies increase in size, “you start to close yourselves off, you start having offices.” Moving into the former City Hall provided a unique opportunity to avoid that while preserving its iconic design and retrofitting its interior to current needs.

Large, traditional offices and dead spaces were replaced with an adaptable open floor layout. Coveted spots such as a corner window with a view are now common areas with comfy furniture for all employees to enjoy. There are no corner offices at Zappos. “We designed this office so that people can really customize the space to fit their team’s needs,” said Timoshuk. “A lot of it is organic, we did it in such a way so that people can move it around – data and power from the ceiling, it’s all built to change – we leave it up to the employees. I think after we provide the shell and the structure it’s not up to us anymore, it’s more of an organic approach.” Tomm noted, “This is what a coworking lab looks like with high employee density . . . it’s a good fit for our culture and that’s why it works.”