All the biggest companies have awesome offices, chock full of cool things to make it seem like an adult’s playground. If you look really closely at the offices of the giant companies, the beanbag chairs or the office cafes are not what that set them apart.

Instead, what defines the quintessential modern office work space is much simpler, and isn’t a furniture fad. It’s glass. 

Increasing the natural light within an office is more than a hip upgrade. In fact, scientists report that having optimal daylight in the workplace decreases ailments that affect productivity like headaches, eyestrain and blurred vision.

Google’s Office in Pittsburgh

I’ll show you what I found after researching these so called “cool office spaces,” beginning with Google itself. Google is a popular search engine, and is a very present brand in everyday life. Their many offices all ooze this cool factor, and employees seem pretty happy to work in these spaces.

An important place to look is the office’s reception area. At Google, it’s a familiar scene when you enter this particular building.

Google headquarters-441829-edited

Photo: Business Insider

An unpainted brick wall with their logo on it is prominent, but not flashy. Comfortable but modern and colorful chairs provide a waiting room for visitors, there’s a funky table and partial carpeting. It could be an office around Burlington or Winooski, one that’s located in an old mill or renovated manufacturing building.

I’ve cropped the right side of the picture to dramatically illustrate my point, and included the full photo below. Here’s the rest of the Google office’s reception area, with interior glass walls.

Google headquarters

Photo: Business Insider

It’s amazing what adding these glass elements can do to transform a workplace. Natural light opens up the entire reception area, and creates a welcome entrance to any visitors.

Twitter’s Office in Seattle

Here’s another example. At Twitter’s Seattle office, few of the individual work spaces have external windows. This leaves conference rooms, hallways, and meeting spaces without natural light.

Instead of allowing their office to be a maze of sectioned-off caverns, they opened the floor plan visually, with glass doors and wall panels.

Twitter seattle conference room

Photo: GeekWire

Here, the advantages of adding glass to an otherwise standard industrial building creates a welcoming environment. Soft lights beckon you to enter, and glass walls provide a sense of security for a visitor, knowing that there aren’t surprises waiting for them on the other side of the door.

These glass walls and panels also separate the noise of the inner reception area from the hallway, which keeps passerby noise from interrupting the work space within.

Square’s Office in San Francisco

My last example, a photo from the Square office in San Francisco, is a good example of glass elements improving productivity in the workplace.

SQuare san francisco

Photo: Business Insider

The glass walled conference room is not a new concept, but it is a worthwhile office upgrade.

With glass walls, meeting attendees are more likely to be productive and on task, as their presence is apparent and clear. Meetings have fewer interruptions, as the rest of the office is aware of the meeting, as well as its progress, and don’t have to knock on a door or stick their head in with a message.

A glass conference room separates the meeting space, protecting the sound between the room and the outer space, but without detracting from shared light sources, open communication and the movement that brings an office to life.

Glass is the Word

Creating space and an open, welcoming feel within an industrial building is clearly working well for these large companies – they report high employee contentment, and continue to grow and be productive each year.

And while funky seating and quirky wall art might help create a cool atmosphere, glass is the common element to opening up an old, outdated office space without sacrificing noise quality or functionality.

Update your office with glass and see the benefits of this one simple improvement. Contact Acme Glass to talk about your office glass fit-up today.