When I first began Office Snapshots, I was mainly posting candid shots of the inside of offices. These were filled with actual workers, doing actual work. Fast-forward to today, however, and the majority of photos I see are not candid, but taken by architectural photographers.
Architectural photographers include people in their photos as a way to bring a human element into what would otherwise be a blank space devoid of life. And given that offices are meant to be inhabited, it really makes a lot of sense. The inclusion of people helps bring a sense of scale to the various rooms and furniture placements. They can also show viewers how the space ought to be used.
But I've been staring at photos of offices for almost 7 years and I can't help but notice the people.
One of the things that I find so interesting about them is that most of the time they don't actually work in the offices they are featured inside. They are simply pretending to work there. And because they are actually fake workers, it means they are fake-working.
Interesting enough, many of the people taking notes, discussing things in meetings, talking on their phones, or working feverishly at their workstations are members of the team responsible for the office design.
Why? Well usually these photos showing off the spaces are taken after the office design is completed, but before the company has moved in. The reason is to better show off the architectural and design intent of the project. This timing also helps ensure that confidential company information is not accidentally left on whiteboards and photographed. And often times, companies don't want their employees bothered during photo shoots that can take many hours.
Let's see some examples:
This guy is lounging in a hammock and casually working on a laptop with a coffee. The bright colors and casual feeling of this photo help to showcase the fun and youthfulness of this office.
This photo is from the same office and shows that privacy and collaboration are also important features of the office.
Even though these people are not actually putting together the quarterly reports, this space is multifunctional and can be used for large groups or small ones. (note the turnstone scoop stool on the left, near the window)
Because this office has glass walls almost everywhere, the designers have given this fake worker a blank slate to collaborate on.
The cement floors, glass walls, and natural light weren't enough to keep this meeting from devolving into texting and standing around.
The wooden floor/wall/ceiling combo make me jealous of the people having a casual background conversation in this office.
I like the cleverly named small, but private conference spaces. Being across from AT&T Park is too bad, either.
Many offices have game rooms, and this one is no exception. Though these fake employees are even fake playing the XBOX Home Screen.
The multi-colored stools are lovely in this conference space, but the Last Supper-style of the photograph makes me think those employees are just looking at blank paper.
A nice stairs/seating combination for these stand-ins to just sit around on
Behold and take notes about this blank wall.
Phone rooms are great ideas, but even better when the door is closed.
This office is so clean that other employees are not actually allowed inside.
This office is dog-friendly and has a Winnebago, but apparently it wasn't enough to get these people to do work today