An inspiring view can contribute to your company's most fundamental asset—culture. We curated a selection of beautiful office views from around the world, along with insights on how they shape key aspects of office culture.
Imagine a conference room featuring a bank of floor to ceiling windows on one side. In one case, the windows overlook a waterfront park, or a famous landmark in your city, or a wide avenue stretching to the horizon and lit by the flashing lights of cars far below. In the second case, they face the brick wall of another building. Which office would you prefer?
It should come as no surprise that teams love a stunning view. A survey by the HR advisory firm Future Workplace rated “natural light and views of the outdoors” as the #1 benefit valued by thousands of North American employees, outranking perks like cafeterias and childcare. But if you’re in the market for a new office, selecting a space with a view may seem like an undue luxury—particularly for startups and younger companies that can ill afford to pay premiums of 30-50% per square foot for an unobstructed view.
Does the value of a scenic view justify its cost? For one, employees report being healthier and more productive in spaces offering a view, with 47% saying they felt tired or very tired in the absence of natural light. Natural light produced a 63% drop in the incidence of headaches and a 51% drop in eyestrain complaints, implying that a view is one of the most valuable ergonomic interventions an employer can provide.
Beyond promoting physical well-being in your team, however, an inspiring view can enhance the other fundamental asset a company can have—culture. Below, we’ve curated a selection of beautiful office views from around the world, along with insights on how they shape key aspects of office culture.
Office Views Reveal Vision
The vision of a company encapsulates its overarching aspirations and “reason for being,” and the right view can serve as a daily reinforcement of the reason you come to work every day.
“My office view overlooks the River Thames in London,” says Ian Wright, co-founder of British Business Energy. “And yes, that's Big Ben you see in the background. The view is massively inspiring to me and my team, reminding us that companies in one of the most iconic cities in the world are fueled by energy providers we help source.”
Imagine if your forestry startup overlooked a beautiful grove of trees in a park, or if your education company surveyed a football field. When your views and your vision match, your team will experience greater satisfaction in the direct connection of their hard work to their environment.
Office Views Nurture Mission
If the vision of an organization articulates its fundamental aspirations, their mission clarifies what it needs to do now to achieve the vision. Your view can serve as a daily reminder to take action in pursuit of your guiding objective.
“I love my view overlooking the beautiful city of Chicago,” says Stacy Caprio, founder of the growth consultancy Her.ceo. “Given our mission of supporting founders in taking a leap with their own businesses, it's inspiring to see the tall buildings and daily activity as a reminder of what’s possible.” As a coach and advisor to business owners and founders, a daily reminder of the fruits of entrepreneurial risk can spur deeper commitment and resilience in pursuing—and encouraging others to pursue—a risky but rewarding path.
Office Views Reinforce Values
If vision and mission define an organization’s aspirations and how to achieve them, values represent the shared beliefs that form a moral and behavioral framework within which individual team members can pursue their goals.
“The wooden structures inside my office make it feel like we're sitting in a tree-house,” says Jamie Wilson of Republic London, a mixed use retail and office space committed to connecting people and inspiring innovative thought. “It might not be for everybody, but the people that run the building put a huge emphasis on the child-like wonder that this inspires and it really encourages our desire to push the boundaries and innovate.”
Whether your view is mediated by a window or internal like Jamie’s, what you see can remind you of beliefs that guide your daily actions and contributions to the organization.
Office Views Bring Teams Together
Uri Abramson, co-founder of personal finance app Overdraft Apps, knows exactly how the view from their berth on the 30th floor of a Tel Aviv office building contributes to culture—by bringing the team together.
“Almost every day, our team heads outside to watch the sunset,” he says. “Sharing this experience gives us a feeling that what we do matters, brings us together as a team, and keeps us focused on accomplishing our mission together.”
Whether you’re pair coding on the balcony, or cradling a few beers after a long week of work, a beautiful view serves as a focal point for teams to get together and bond over more than the day-to-day of the workplace.
Scenic Office Views Are A Privilege, But Can Contribute To Culture
There’s no doubt that an office view is a privilege. The respective garages of Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos didn’t offer inspiring vistas, and even mature companies with massive facilities budgets might prefer to invest in other wellness and community-building perks like fitness programs.
Companies that do inhabit buildings and spaces offering fantastic views should take care to remind their teams that location is an investment in culture, and not at odds with other cultural commitments to frugality and humility.
With all this in mind, there’s no doubt that a captivating backdrop can pay dividends over and above incremental rent in reinforcing an organization’s commitment to their vision, mission, values—and each other. Whether you’ve got a view of Central Park or create your own facsimile with plenty of plants, light and natural artwork, investing in the environment your team inhabits can create enduring advantages that lead to promising vistas in the future.