How Cool Is Your Office?

HR Tech starr conspiracyThis week, we’re talking cool. Maybe it’s because Fall starts Sunday or maybe it’s because the coolest show in HR — HR Tech — starts a week after that. Mostly, though, it’s because this PR email came in about the coolest offices in the world, which really isn’t about the whole world, but the offices are, well, not like yours and mine.

First, though, is this advice from The Starr Conspiracy to the vendors who will be exhibiting at the HR Tech show in Las Vegas:

Don’t get caught with a pile of stress balls and a profoundly vapid event strategy.

The Starr Conspiracy is a cool marketing firm that works only for HR vendors and which had an Airstream trailer for a booth at one HR Tech show. It put together a show guide: “Burn After Reading: The Vendor’s HR Technology Conference & Exposition Manual.” It offers bits of wisdom about the four essentials of the show:

On Swag:

“The usual HR conference swag won’t cut it … No to stress-relieving squeezy balls in odd shapes.” ( From China Gorman, former SHRM chief)

On Sales:

“The problem is that HR vendors don’t bring salespeople anymore — thery bring ‘solution providers.’ (Tim Sackett, president, HRU Technical Resources)

On Relationships:

“The best way vendors can exhibit at HR Tech is to forget everything they know about exhibiting and throw a party.” (Laurie Reuttimann, founder,

On Perspective:

“If you approach it like (a point in time marketing event), looking to scan as many badges as you can and divvy up the ‘leads’ later, you’ll be just another failed marketer trying to justify next year’s trade show budget after generating no results.” (George LaRocque, president LaRocque, Inc.)

Article Continues Below

Cardboard Can Be Cool

Sonar6 unbooth
Sonar6 unbooth

There have been plenty of very cool booths, and I use that term loosely, at HR Tech. A few years back Taleo had aerialists performing. There’s the aforementioned Airstraem. And then there was Sonar6’s cardboard booth, which as the Conspiracy’s Steve Smith says, “stood out because they did something so different.”

Now, let’s talk really different. How about a pup-tent for an office? Or the BBC’s office with “thought wheels,” where brilliant new ideas for, say, a feature on turnip farming in the Ukaine are spun. Or the three-story slide at Corus Entertainment’s HQ in Toronto? (Rackspace gets honorable mention here; it’s slide is one-story, but the office is a converted shopping mall.)

Corus slide
Corus slide

In South Africa, Missing Link’s HQ has a tree house, a slide, AND a virtual target shooting range, among other uber-office offerings like an onsite tattoo studio and a rock star stage.

Most unexpected has to be Lloyd’s of London’s five-story adventure in acrophobia. Who would have thought an escalator could be a thrill ride!

This hunt for the Coolest Offices In the World is brought to you by Adzuna, a classified ad marketplace serving the U.K. and a few other places.

Kind of takes the cool factor out of the new Foosball table in the breakroom.

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


5 Comments on “How Cool Is Your Office?

  1. Offices that try too hard for the fun vibe are lame. Wonder how much that slide actually gets used?

    To me the coolest offices are like the coolest hotels; the services and attitudes are as important as the decor and amenities, which should of course be first class.

    Its more about the place and the people, not the building and the stuff, when really ranking coolness…

  2. Thanks, HJohn, IMHO, a “cool” office is MAYBE the sprinkles on the icing on the cake. What kind of shall and foolish person decides on a accepting a job based on how “cool” it is? Maybe I don’t think there are many jobseekers who have that particular luxury in their decision-making.


    Keith “Wasn’t, Isn’t, and Never Shall Be Cool” Halperin

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *