Office slides, who’s to blame: Google, Pat Sharp, Jeff Tracy or Bill Murray?

The office slide has become a bit of a trend of late. But where has the trend come from and who planted the idea in our heads? We explore some of the potential origins.

David Quinn: BrightHR Social Media Manager

The office as we know it seems to be changing. We’re moving away from the dull white walled, cubicles of the past to the more modern workspaces. Companies such as Google have been at the forefront of bringing these modern workplaces to the public's attention with their sleep pods, table tennis tables, office bars and quirky meeting spaces.

Here at BrightHR we’ve also created a ‘cool’ office, complete with an indoor garden space, bean bags, relaxing break out areas and we even had a double bed in the office. Whilst this may seem like we’re being cool and trendy for the sake of it, we truly see the benefit of such office spaces. These spaces give your employees the opportunity to take a break away from their screen, to refocus the mind and if you want your people to be creative you need to provide an environment in where creativity can flourish.

One trend which we haven't explored at BrightHR is that of the office slide. Companies such as Google, Red Bull and Ticketmaster all have slides in their offices to allow workers to quickly move between floors. However, opinions are divided. Many see it as childish and a waste of time and money. Others see it as a fun way to encourage creativity and cooperation. Some may see it as an aid to productivity as it saves time using the stairs, whereas others may see it as just plain lazy. Whatever your view, the office slide may be coming to an office near you soon.

But this got us thinking where did the idea of the office slide come from? Who planted the seed? We explore some potential origins.

 

Thunderbirds

We all know the workplace commute can be boring. Unless you work on Tracy Island that is. In that case, you’re workplace commute is brilliant. Rotating walls, slides, movable swimming pools, retracting palm trees, false floors, it puts every other workplace to shame.

Obviously, many of these features just aren’t feasible in the real office environment but was this the inspiration for many office slide? Trying to bring a small bit of Tracy Island to the workplace.

 

 

Ghostbusters

“Does this pole work? Wow. This place is great. When can we move in? You gotta try this pole.”

The only reason the Ghostbusters moved into a dilapidated firehouse was because of the fireman’s pole and who can blame them? But was this the moment that planted a seed in the next generation of business owners minds? When moving into new office premises did these business owners start to think about how to make the workplace more exciting and suddenly the idea of some sort of slide formed from the subconscious memory of Ghostbusters. Bill Murray and Dan Ackroyd you could be to blame for the whole thing.

 

 

Fun House

Pat Sharp has a lot to answer for. The terrible dress sense, the mullet, encouraging 90’s kids to wreck the house in the search for prizes. But was he responsible for a trend that was only going to develop years later, at a time when many of those 90s kids became business owners? A trend for office slides and ball pools.

For many 90s kids, Fun House appeared to be the most fun place on earth. So when it came to creating a fun and creative office what better way than to emulate it?

 

 

Google

Google certainly wasn't the first to start the office slide trend, however, they are certainly one of the major reasons why the trend has spread so quickly and so widely. Companies around the world look at Google as a company to aspire to and wanting to emulate their huge success they have adopted many of the Google ways of working. This has included everything from casual dress codes, themed meeting rooms, and slides.

What Google does today many companies around the world will be sure to follow.

 

Whatever your thoughts on office slides they have caused some interesting debate about the role of the office, and the workplace of the future. That’s why we’ve been exploring The New Workforce, looking into the potential future workforce and how companies can adapt to succeed in this new world.

 

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