I noticed (due to a tweet from Jeff Atwood) that Joel has uploaded photos of the new Fog Creek Software office space. This appears to be an example of an office environment done right. In the past I’ve worked in office environments that just plain sucked.
Dirty, dark, smelly, badly maintained holes packed with more than a hundred developers. Where scratching around for a clean glass or dust free desk was an exercise in futility.
This sort of thing has a a huge negative impact on staff moral.
On a recent Stackoverflow podcast Joel was discussing the new office and estimated that FogCreek probably only spends an additional 1% of revenue annually on their office space and employee perks than any regular software company might. Yet by doing so, they get what he believes are significant benefits in employee productivity and moral. It also makes for great company marketing (witness this blog post).
Note that FogCreek is not a large company. They don’t have billions in revenue. One of Joel’s assertions is that any profitable software company can do right by their employees in the same way he does.
The office environment I work in at the moment is better than others I’ve worked in but not quite up to FogCreek standards. I can only strive to ensure that I’ll either get to work in a similar environment or can provide one to my own employees in any future business endevour I may pursue.