Most call center designs leave a lot to be desired. Investments in workplace culture and visual appeal are rarely a priority, but things are different at Airbnb. The new Airbnb Portland office design is one of the freshest, most inspiring call center designs we’ve ever seen. It’s a warm, welcoming environment that is likely to pay off in both the productivity and workplace happiness of Airbnb employees.
The Airbnb Portland office is a design collaboration by Aaron Taylor Harvey and Rachael Yu. It serves about 200 employees who handle inbound calls from Airbnb hosts and guests, a support framework for the entire Airbnb network. The design duo of Harvey and Yu spent a month getting to know the Airbnb Portland employees to create a space that met their needs. The result is youthful but refined, open yet varied, creating an inspiring place to work, meet and break.
At a glance, you’ll notice a central difference between the Airbnb Portland office and most call centers. Gone are the rows and columns of cubicles and terminals– here at Airbnb Portland, employees work in teams where they please. With a laptop and a headset, employees can roam freely alone or in groups to handle the task of the day.
One special design element that Harvey and Yu introduced in the Portland office is an inventive connection with the Airbnb community. Several actual Airbnb listing spaces have been mocked up and reproduced within the Airbnb Portland office. Employees can roam and occupy these recreations of some of Airbnb’s most memorable places. It ties in the meaning of the company with the design of the office, giving each employee — or virtual concierge — an emotional connection with the service they are providing. [images by jeremy bittermann]