Here's a quirky and cool perk for Microsoft employees: the chance to work in real treehouses at the company's Redmond, Washington headquarters.
Microsoft, like many technology companies, has provided a fun office atmosphere for its workers. Building treehouses, however, gives a whole new meaning to an "open working environment."
Microsoft Treehouses: A New Kind Of Workplace
Microsoft discussed its new treehouses through a post on its official blog, revealing that they were created by Pete Nelson from the Treehouse Masters TV show.
There are three treehouses planned for the Redmond headquarters, and two of them are already accessible to all Microsoft employees. The third one, which will be a sheltered lounge space, will open within the year.
The treehouses are over 12 feet from the ground, and feature amenities that include skylights, fireplaces, charred-wood walls, and wooden canopies. The treehouses are not simple boxes though, as they also function as complete working spaces with hidden electrical outlets and an outdoor Wi-Fi network.
In addition to the treehouses, Microsoft is adding outdoor spaces to other buildings on its campus. For example, the indoor cafeteria will soon also have an outdoor area with rocking chairs, where workers can eat their lunch under the peaceful sky.
Benefits Of Working Outdoors
The decision to provide its workers with more outdoor spaces is not just a design choice though. As Microsoft explained in its blog post, scientists have found plenty of connections between the well-being of people and their amount of exposure to the outdoors.
Microsoft cited Eva M. Selhub, a Harvard physician who co-wrote Your Brain on Nature, as saying that nature stimulates the brain by turning off the stress response. In turn, this lowers the person's cortisol levels, heart rate, and blood pressure, while improving the immune response.
To illustrate how this works, Microsoft narrated an experience of one employee who was enjoying the new outdoor space provided by the company. She was sitting, legs crossed, on a grassy knoll just below one of the treehouses. The employee simply sat there, with her eyes closed and breathing in the outdoor air deeply. She then opened her laptop and furiously typed, seemingly empowered by the environment to finish her work. The employee then set the laptop aside and went back to her meditation.
People who love working outdoors might want to give a Microsoft job application a shot, as apparently, the company is just starting with its process of making its campus more in tune with the environment.