Making a Home for a Thriving New York City Technology Company
Last month, the award-winning online marketing company Yodle moved into its new Hudson Yards location, doubling the office space of the previous Flatiron District office. With the ability to grow to approximately 114,000 square feet at 330 West 34th Street in Manhattan, Yodle’s office accommodates a staff of 300—with plans to hire an additional 250 employees over the next three years. The Yodle New York Office is a sizable achievement for technology hiring in the city. HLW’s design solutions are demonstrative of what it takes to make a home for a thriving New York City technology company.
Encouraging Communication and Teamwork
Almost every role at Yodle is represented at the New York headquarters, from sales to engineering to finance and marketing, which means that there are a lot of different personality types and work styles to accommodate. This is certainly reflected in the flexible, open floor plan and a range of desk arrangements. However, dig a little deeper and what you find is a work culture dedicated to encouraging communication and teamwork.
From the amenities to food service, addressing the specific requirements of individuals became about meeting the “whole” employee’s needs, which include the ability to share ideas and collaborate. A top-down reinforcement of this philosophy is apparent in the CEO’s open workstation, which is located on the floor with the rest of the Yodle team. Similarly, huddle rooms are strategically positioned throughout the office, enabling groups to work together to solve problems. The large, centrally located connecting stair includes stadium seating for a more casual area for impromptu meetings under the skylight.
Yodle also recognizes that employees sometimes need to break from the group and secure quiet time to focus on complex projects before rejoining the team. We designed a large library called the “quiet car room,” in addition to numerous phone booths and focus rooms. When more privacy is needed for meetings, The Pavilion is ideal. This fully enclosed space is a “room within a room,” complete with its own ceiling. It also feels like a special space within the office, but without compromising the floor’s long site lines and 20’ ceiling heights.
For HLW, the project’s success was dependent upon delivering the right balance of individual and teaming spaces.
Community Building through Flexible Event Space
The incorporation of flexible event space represents another key aspect of Yodle’s design and real estate strategy. In addition to being consistent with the campus-like feel, having space to conduct large group gatherings is critical for community building and company culture. Bleacher seating on the staircase provides seating with views of a drop-down projection screen during weekly tech demonstrations, for example.
Flexible event space options are integrated throughout the office, including rooms and teaming spaces that expand and contract as needed. The main reception area contains a 20’ tall sliding wall that opens up to reveal a large open space capable of accommodating large group gatherings of approximately 70 people. The adjacent pantry includes a bar height island, which is perfect for food prep at events, and beer and sparkling water taps.
Much attention was paid to keeping the large, unobstructed raw space as open and as bright as possible. For example, space behind the stairs can be closed off to contain workstations behind a screen, but it can also be opened up to reveal clear view lines from the stairs straight through to the other side of the building. In fact, staff on all floors enjoy views from three directions. “Walking desks” oriented outward (to take full advantage of the views) are planned for additional floors.
The Common Thread: Attracting and Retaining World-class Talent
Yodle is celebrating its 10th year anniversary, having launched the business in 2005. From an office of less than 10 employees to a staff of 300 in New York and 1,200 nation-wide, as well as consecutive listings on Forbes list of American’s Most Promising Companies for the last four years, Yodle is demonstrative of the quickly expanding footprint of New York technology companies. When it came to creating a home that could keep up with Yodle’s own expansion, design strategies focused on collaboration and community building were all about attracting and retaining world-class talent.