Technology companies in the United States and the United Kingdom are being pushed to give up the fun and inspiring offices. Some companies created these in a bid to increase employee morale and productivity. But it’s a different story in Russia where tech giants are just beginning to emerge.
Giant bean bags, pinball machines, slides and games are considered sexist in the West. But tech giants in other parts of the world are starting to allow some fun time in offices. In many cases, offices that have traditionally been strict and serious.
Talent in the world of information technology (IT) is in high demand. And business activity in the industry increased more in the fourth quarter of 2013 than in the past decade. In the U.K., 44 per cent of technology firms are planning to hire additional personnel, but industry experts now say companies will have to do something to bring more women into the fold in order to meet the demand.
Currently, women only make up 19 per cent of the people in IT positions, but the problem is not that technology companies don’t want to hire women. It is probably because women are choosing not to work with tech firms or in IT-related roles.
Tech companies began to sway potential employees into their camps by creating cool and hip office environments; due to the demand for talented employees and the competitive climate.
Hard chairs and benches were replaced by more comfortable, giant bean bag chairs with animal stripes, neon colors and faux fur. Water coolers began to be accompanied by soda fountains and state-of-the-art cappuccino machines. Breakout rooms now feature foosball tables and pinball machines.
According to some industry analysts, all of these amenities are overly masculine. Many moderates claim that this occurred unintentionally, and others say the whole idea makes no sense. However, one thing is clear. The large firms, such as Facebook, Google and Apple, have paved the way for the smaller companies, and such offices are now the norm. Some supporters of this notion state that bean bags are not office-friendly furniture for women in dresses and skirts. However, the opposite is actually true when it comes to skirts and bean bags.
Bean Bags In The Work Place
Bean bag furniture is available in all shapes and sizes. Also, bean bags may be better suited to women in skirts than standard chairs are. When sitting in a traditional chair, most women feel the need to cross their legs. However, bean bags conform perfectly to the shape of the body, which reduces or eliminates the need to cross your legs. Also, bean bags are conducive to many sitting positions that are arguably much more comfortable than the standard professional position, and this type of furniture is more ergonomic than most others.
One of the biggest proponents of the idea that cool offices are sexist is Nora Zeidan, a journalist for The Guardian in the U.K. However, her articles on the subject fail to mention how, exactly, modern offices are masculine. Also, commentators have brought up the fact that the cool-office movement began with advertising agencies in the 1990s. And those agencies often employed more women than men. Perhaps other factors are making technology firms unappealing to women. But office styles, break-room activities and bean bags don’t seem to fit the bill.
Bean Bags: Tech Giants in Russia
Not everyone around the world is willing to give up a cool office filled with bean bag furniture. In Russia, the movement is just beginning to pick up steam. Russia is listed as the 18th most innovative country in the world when it comes to technology, and many government officials and entrepreneurs want to correct this problem. Government agencies and investors are pouring money into technology startups to build the country’s position as a world leader. And office overhauls are high on the list of priorities.
Technology firms in Russia must have international appeal to become relevant to the world’s technology industry. And one way to create desire is to implement a new and modern office environment. Executives of technology startups want to mimic the feel of Silicon Valley. They want to do this so that talented Russians do not leave to work in firms based in other countries. Bean bags may very well be what saves the IT industry in Russia. And they certainly will help any startup save money when furnishing their office.