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Fancy high-tech work space
Photo: Itay Sikolsky
Israel's swanky high-tech office scene
Companies large and small have adopted the approach of building extraordinary work spaces in order to encourage creativity and impress both employees and visitors.
After the years of the high-tech bubble, in which competition for engineers was expressed in unprecedented salary conditions, the game conditions changed. One of the incentives companies these days offer is an extraordinary work space, which is supposed to encourage creativity and impress both employees and visitors.

 

 

Even start-ups composed of several dozen people have adopted the approach that giant companies such as Facebook, Apple and Microsoft have taken and have begun devoting large chunks of funding to create a space that no longer concerns just functionality, but also impression.

 

Photo: Itay Sikolsky (Photo: Itay Sikolsky)
Photo: Itay Sikolsky

 

The practice has become so widespread that there are now specialized companies devoted solely to the construction and design of these specialized work environments, which over the years have become accustomed to excessive requests and have perfected the standards accordingly.

 

"High-tech companies look at each other's offices and refuse to be the ones who built the simpler offices," explains Aviram Weiss, the manager and founder of the A. Weiss Company, which managed the construction of the Israeli offices of Facebook, Microsoft, Applied Materials, EMC, Yahoo and others.

 

Facebook's Tel Aviv offices (Photo: Itay Sikolsky) (Photo: Itay Sikolsky)
Facebook's Tel Aviv offices (Photo: Itay Sikolsky)

 

Photo: Itay Sikolsky (Photo: Itay Sikolsky)
Photo: Itay Sikolsky

 

"In practice, these are huge costs for companies compared to others. For example, while final jobs in the offices of a law firm cost about NIS 3,500 per square meter, the costs of high-tech offices can reach a peak of up to NIS 12,000 per square meter."

 

The object: to become the most desirable company

"Investment in the work environment and working conditions is part of the company's branding among employees," explains Tehila Yanai, co-CEO of CofaceBdi, which annually evaluates the companies that work best.

 

"In recent years, it has been clear how the appearance of the offices and their character influences the rating of the companies, in a way that obliges them all to cooperate," said Yanai.

 

Photo: Itay Sikolsky (Photo: Itay Sikolsky)
Photo: Itay Sikolsky

 

Photo: Itay Sikolsky (Photo: Itay Sikolsky)
Photo: Itay Sikolsky

 

The race for the most desirable office begins with the question of location.

 

For example, Facebook's offices occupy a top floor on Rothschild Boulevard with a panoramic view of the sea. Hundreds of thousands of shekels were invested in the interior design, including a unique wall built entirely of a creeping plant, designed to create a sense of life and space. Another wall in the company's office was dedicated to the work of a graffiti artist commissioned from Europe.

 

Ericsson's Kfar Saba offices contain a wall of special moss imported from Greenland, which gives it a unique and spectacular color.

At Google's Tel Aviv offices in the Electra building, slides were built connecting the different floors of the office.

 

Photo: Adi Sichok (Photo: Adi Sichok)
Photo: Adi Sichok

 

Music room in eBay (Photo: Adi Sichok) (Photo: Adi Sichok)
Music room in eBay (Photo: Adi Sichok)

 

Under the new standards, companies also invest in employees' leisure time, including solutions for children during vacations.

 

During the children's vacations, EMC offers a special area in the office, where the employees' children are given recreational activities. The overriding goal is, of course, to prevent employees from taking time off to care for their children during vacations and to improve working time.

 

At the eBay Israel Development Center in Netanya, a basketball court is located on the roof of the building, where a tournament was held in which 8 high-tech companies including Intel, Microsoft, HP, PayPal and Cisco all participated.

 

(Translated and edited by Fred Goldberg) 

 

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