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Employee cafeteria inside the new Impinj headquarters.
An open lunchroom at Impinj’s new offices in South Lake Union

Technology companies are investing heavily in workplace atmospheres that bring out the best in their employees, helping to inspire world-changing products. In today’s voting in the GeekWire Awards, we recognize those companies that infuse corporate cultures in their workplaces. That’s right, it’s time to vote for Geekiest Office Space.

The Redfin lobby

For the next few days, we’re opening voting in each of 13 GeekWire Awards categories, with GeekWire readers choosing their top picks from finalists selected by our panel of judges from community nominations. Check back on GeekWire each day to cast your ballots, or visit here to vote in announced categories. All of the winners will be revealed at the GeekWire Awards — presented by Wave — on May 12 at EMP.

A big thanks to Knoll, the presenting sponsor for the Geekiest Office Space category. The team at Knoll spent the past few weeks touring our nominated companies, helping to come with with the five finalists below.

A space-themed office at Axon.

Christen Brooke Gladu, the architecture and design manager at Knoll, said with tech companies battling for talent, a functional and inviting office space is one of the true differentiators that can help attract and retain talent.

“The more agile, accommodating, engaging, fun and supportive the work environment is, the better the work will be,” said Gladu. “This year, in addition to looking at how companies infuse their culture into their space and keep teams engaged, we were also looking with a sharp eye for spaces where people love to work.”

Make sure to cast your ballot for Geekiest Office Space — presented by Knoll — in the poll below. And just a quick reminder: Tickets are going fast for this year’s GeekWire Awards, so if you have not yet registered make sure to do so today by going here.

And here are the descriptions and notes from the team at Knoll, which assisted GeekWire in the judging of this fun category this year.


Inside Avvo's new headquarters in Seattle
Inside Avvo’s new headquarters in Seattle

“Mostly it’s just a pretty cool office where people like to come to work,” says CEO Mark Britton. Keeping it simple seems to be a theme for tech pioneer Avvo, whose service provides its users with an affordable way to chat with a lawyer over the phone for just $39.

Their business model is rooted in their value of accessibility, evident in their choice of entryway carpet, made up of mugshots of well-known celebrities.

The message? “Let’s not freak out about our legal issues. They’re infinitely handle-able, whether you’re Jerry Garcia or Bill Gates,” says Britton, motioning to the stars’ photos.

Celebrity mug shot carpet at Avvo's office
Celebrity mug shot carpet at Avvo’s office

Avvo’s core values informed the vision for their entire space, such as their desire for and commitment to transparency.

Conference rooms, casual meeting spaces, and Britton’s own office are lined with glass, creating a connected feel and enhancing the natural energy that flows through the space.

Movable dry-erase walls act as a malleable opportunity for privacy as well as an easy way to capture notes from an impromptu meeting.

A “come as you are” attitude is evident from the open feel of each floor to the kegerator not far from the welcome desk, quickly denying visitors’ suspicions that they’ll have anything less than a good time. The new 110,000 square foot offices, which GeekWire toured earlier this year, are located in the 8th + Olive Building near South Lake Union.


Inside the spaceship-themed office of Axon
Inside the spaceship-themed office of Axon

Axon’s futuristic space feels like a portal into the future of technology. From the sliding space ship doors to the retinal identification scan to the reclining work pods, Axon’s space has a powerful wow factor.

Beyond this, however, is the powerful culture where employees feel plugged in and driven by the mission to protect life and protect truth.

Employees get up close and personal with the technology they create—they can choose to be tased, and they can choose to do ride alongs with law enforcement to experience the results of Axon products.

Teams work hard, and employee’s well-being and social needs are tended to. Employees are flown to the Grand Canyon for whitewater rafting. One particularly wow-worthy event was the early screening of Star Wars for all employees and their families.

axon-offices1The office space, located on the 13th floor of the Metropolitan Park West towers in Seattle, was designed with flexibility and choice in mind. Employees all have sit-to-stand desks and ergonomic chairs. Ergonomic assessments are provided for employees to help educate on best practices for wellness at a workstation.

Collaborative and breakout areas throughout the space are opportunities for teams to alternately socialize or find refuge. Intricate lego models, built by teams, are scattered throughout the space. Team-building events almost always center around beer, several of which are always on tap in the sleek, modern kitchen.

Well-being perks also include unlimited vacation time, flexible work hours and extended parental leave policies. (Birth mothers can take up to 20 weeks paid leave, and non-birth parents including paternity, adoptions and/or foster care can take up to 10 weeks paid time off.) Teams donate their time by volunteering at Food Lifeline, and every year holiday gifts are collected for children at Child Haven.


Workers at Pitchbook have a little fun while compiling venture capital data.
Workers at PitchBook have a little fun while compiling venture capital data.

PitchBook is makin’ bacon. No, literally.

Inside Pitchbook's new offices in Seattle.
Inside PitchBook’s new offices in Seattle.

Employees stay hungry and driven to hit goals with the promise of bacon and end-of-month pizza rallies. The PitchBook Culture Club is constantly hard at work planning internal team and company events to keep people plugged in, engaged and having fun at work.

Their onboarding process is significant and universal for all employees: Two weeks at PitchBook University, with ongoing lunch and learns and mentorship programs.

Their 35,000 square-foot office space, located at 901 5th Avenue in downtown Seattle, is agile and nimble but sophisticated.

Natural wood tones and industrial elements like the giant garage doors on the CEO’s office add warm, casual elements to the space. Ample living room vignettes and phone rooms help create zones for collaboration or quiet work. Nine golf holes were built into the space from the beginning, and the ping pong zone doubles as a team-building and brainstorming area.


The lunchroom at Redfin

Redfin is making waves! Rapidly outpacing the size of their space, Redfin is looking critically at how their teams work and is identifying the best office space designs they can employ to ensure engagement, collaboration and innovation.

Redfin engineers exercise their bodies and brains

They design with flexibility and agility in mind, and then analyze opportunities for improvement.

With employees scattered in so many locations, collaboration and teambuilding are critical at Redfin. Catered lunches are frequent, as are “Redfin Challenges” challenges such as biking to work months and stair challenges.

Wellness perks include massages and free Fitbits. Redferno is a company-wide event to bring people together from all locations for fun and teambuilding.


Employee cafeteria inside the new Impinj headquarters.
Employee cafeteria inside the new Impinj headquarters.

While the quirky Seattle neighborhood of Fremont has proven to be a hotbed for Seattle’s tech giants, change was imminent for local native Impinj, whose growth and leadership in the RFID community necessitated a move from their long-time home to a 52,000 square foot space in the throes of South Lake Union.

Inside Impinj's new Seattle headquarters.
Inside Impinj’s new Seattle headquarters.

With a lakeside address and Space Needle views, it doesn’t get much more Seattle than their location on Fairview, which is only fitting for these Seattle-born tech leaders. Though the view outside may look like a classic postcard, their homey breakaway spaces give the feeling that employees may never want to leave. Between their full modern kitchen, cozy conversational enclaves, and the must-have stress relieving ping pong table, you may just forget you’re not already home.

Having been in the game for 16 years, Impinj is considered the leading provider of RAIN RFID technology, and were frankly ahead of their time in capturing the potential of the work they do. That being said, their office space is just as forward-thinking as their revolutionary services.

Consistent with the latest research in wellness and employee engagement, Impinj offers employees the perks of ergonomically-friendly height-adjustable workstations, open paid time off, privacy rooms for wellness and meditation, daily fruit delivery, and even pet insurance. And because fun matters too, weekly Bagel Fridays are a must.

Good luck to all of the finalists in the Geekiest Office Space category, and don’t forget to grab your tickets today for the GeekWire Awards on May 12.

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