The GitHub HQ Has Bars And Cafes Instead Of Offices

Every company has its own philosophy, its own set of internal guidelines and its own way of being successful (or not). For GitHub the secret lies in collaboration. The GitHub team started out small, like all others, and in six years became a $900 million company with a name known by all software developers everywhere. At first, employees were writing code in bars, coffee shops or their own home offices and, as things progressed, a headquarters was created. It’s a 55,000 square foot (5109 square meters) space located in the SoMa District of San Francisco and designed by FENNIE+MEHL Architects and Studio Hatch. You’d expect things to change after that but instead of adopting the corporate office design direction, the GitHub HQ rediscovered the company’s origins and stayed funky and unique.

Calling this space an office would be a big stretch since it's not meant to follow any of the default workspace design guidelinesView in gallery
Calling this space an office would be a big stretch since it’s not meant to follow any of the default workspace design guidelines
This unconventional headquarters is divided into several leisure-oriented spaces, including two barsView in gallery
This unconventional headquarters is divided into several leisure-oriented spaces, including two bars

There are no cold and austere workspaces here. In fact, there are no conventional office spaces of any kind in this headquarters. Instead of using meeting rooms and formal offices employees spend their time in bars, cafes and a bunch of other casual and laid back spaces where they’re encouraged to interact and to collaborate. Actually, a lack of formality and strict rules seems to be the recipe for success here.

There are also several cafes where employees can work or relax, getting in touch with the company's philosophyView in gallery
There are also several cafes where employees can work or relax, getting in touch with the company’s philosophy
A big emphasis is placed on the casual and relaxed nature of the workspace but also on the idea of collaborationView in gallery
A big emphasis is placed on the casual and relaxed nature of the workspace but also on the idea of collaboration

Every morning GitHub employees get to decide where they want to work. They can choose between two bars, several cafes, a library, a museum, a speakeasy and even their own homes to work in. It’s all about freedom of choice, collaboration and independent thinking. It seems that being unconventional worked right from the start and helped the company to get to the point where it is today so the architects found inspiration in that and managed to translate this philosophy into a perfect interior design.

The overall design direction is a mixture of rustic, industrial, traditional and modern. In other words, this is an eclectic officeView in gallery
The overall design direction is a mixture of rustic, industrial, traditional and modern. In other words, this is an eclectic office
The materials and finishes used throughout are simple and focus on natural beautyView in gallery
The materials and finishes used throughout are simple and focus on natural beauty
One of the workspaces is a casual and open coffee shop/ cafeteria style space with a high ceiling and tiled floorView in gallery
One of the workspaces is a casual and open coffee shop/ cafeteria style space with a high ceiling and tiled floor

Working in this sort of unconventional spaces helps the employees to stay connected to the to the company’s core values in a very special way and also allows them to stay relaxed, friendly and better-inclined to collaborate with others and to try new things every day. It’s the open-minded attitude that inspired the founders to start the company in the first place and then to lead it to success.

Large tables and benches encourage people to sit together and to collaborate in a relaxed and friendly environmentView in gallery
Large tables and benches encourage people to sit together and to collaborate in a relaxed and friendly environment
Edison light bulbs hanging from the ceiling beams create a warm and comfortable ambianceView in gallery
Edison light bulbs hanging from the ceiling beams create a warm and comfortable ambiance

The GitHub San Francisco HQ is definitely not what you’d expect, unless you’re familiar with the company’s history in which case everything makes total sense. It’s not a colorful or very fresh space, at least not in the way other offices are. Its style is more rugged, with strong industrial influences but also with obvious rustic and modern elements and a few perfectly planned features which are designed to make spaces feel welcoming.

The headquarters also has some more conventional workspaces for those that feel more comfortable working at a deskView in gallery
The headquarters also has some more conventional workspaces for those that feel more comfortable working at a desk
A white subway tile backsplash creates a sense of familiarity and comfortable usually found in homesView in gallery
A white subway tile backsplash creates a sense of familiarity and comfortable usually found in homes
This stylish kitchen also features these really cool open shelves and a set of metal and glass framesView in gallery
This stylish kitchen also features these really cool open shelves and a set of metal and glass frames

The most important ideas and feedback regarding the interior design of the headquarters came from the employees. They got to shape their own workspaces and to decide how they want to spend their time at the office. This is extremely important for boosting the morale at the workplace and for drawing in loyal and dedicated people as well as for keeping the already existing employees happy and inspired. It’s a strategy used by several other big and small companies, each with its own strategy. The tricky thing every time is finding the identity of the company and expressing it in the right way.

There's also a library room for those that enjoy the peaceful and cozy feeling of being surrounded by booksView in gallery
There’s also a library room for those that enjoy the peaceful and cozy feeling of being surrounded by books
There's nothing conventional about any of the workspaces in this headquartersView in gallery
There’s nothing conventional about any of the workspaces in this headquarters
There's a space for everyone, including a green area with plants and an open ceilingView in gallery
There’s a space for everyone, including a green area with plants and an open ceiling