Software giant Microsoft has built a set of new offices for the staff of its headquarters — and they're located high in the air atop high-tech treehouses.
The Future of work

Microsoft lets its employees work in a treehouse in the woods

It’s a breath of fresh air.

Software giant Microsoft has built a set of new offices for the staff of its Pacific Northwest headquarters — and they’re located high in the air atop high-tech treehouses, according to Business Insider.

The treehouses, which are equipped with WiFi, meeting rooms, fireplaces and electricity — but no central heat or air — are located within the 500-acre forest behind the company’s campus in Redmond, Washington, according to the company’s blog. There are two enclosed treehouses in use so far and a third — the Crow’s Nest — is slated to open soon, officials said.

“People said, given the opportunity, they would work more outside,” said Bret Boulter, who works in Real Estate & Facilities on Microsoft’s Redmond campus, told the Microsoft blog. “We don’t have to bring nature to urbanity—we are in nature. It’s at our back door.”

“The first thing [you notice] when you walk into the space is that everyone is really quiet. You stop talking and are just present,” Boulter added, “It’s fascinating. People absorb the environment, and it changes the perception of their work and how they can do it.”

The treehouses were designed by Pete Nelson of Discovery’s Treehouse Masters.

One of the treehouse offices is 12 feet off the ground, and “features charred-wood walls and a soaring ceiling with a round skylight that lets in just a bubble of blue. It’s more Hobbit than HQ, with cinnamon-colored shingles and a gingerbread-house feel,” according to Microsoft’s blog.

The company explains that it wanted to respond to employees’ desire to spend more time outdoors, while keeping them connected to the office.

The treehouses also feature hidden electrical sockets inside every bench and a cafeteria/barbecue restaurant located inside a shipping container, according to Microsoft’s blog.