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In 2020, the Culture-First Campus Office Goes Mainstream

“Our gym is really great. We have a bikeshare station right by our front door. We have barbecue grills and outdoor TVs. There’s a pool table, ping pong…”

If you guessed that the person who said this is from Google or Apple, you’d be wrong. It’s Natali Schmitz, HR Manager for software company Helium 10, discussing the startup’s new workspace at Discovery Park, a Next Gen campus in the heart of Orange County’s innovation corridor.

Workplaces like Discovery Park, UCI Research Park and Market Place Center mean that the campus lifestyle is no longer the exclusive domain of large tech companies. Businesses of all sizes are making campuses their own, bringing their unique company cultures to life with scalable, future-forward workspace that changes the way teams connect, collaborate and succeed. 

Helium10 brings their innovative brand to life in a playful lounge space featuring bold colors and hanging swings.

“We wanted the benefits of a cutting-edge tech campus but right-sized for our company’s needs. Discovery Park is the perfect fit,” says Natali. 

Smart campus design supports innovation, strengthens talent recruitment and retention and drives business success. Here’s how:

Customize space to reflect company culture 

Companies with a strong, well-articulated culture are more likely to have employees who are “happy at work” and feel “valued by [their] company,” according to Deloitte research. As a physical manifestation of your organization’s values and employer brand, workplace design is ground zero for articulating this culture. From space layout to interior design, campus office is easy to customize to your company’s distinct culture.

Embrace the coastal California lifestyle

Campuses represent everything the California lifestyle is about–ease, simplicity and sunshine–while eliminating traffic and parking headaches from the equation. Everything employees need is in one place: start the day with craft coffee, collaborate on a project while working outdoors, take an afternoon jog or on-demand exercise class, pick up dry cleaning, and finish the day off with happy hour.

Extend the HQ experience to all employees

When companies run out of room at HQ, they may turn to temporary coworking solution to house the extra headcount. But these shared spaces lack the personalization of the company’s HQ and can relegate employees to “second class” status. Flexible workspaces in a campus office are private, tailored and branded for companies, delivering an exceptional quality of life and ensuring the entire workforce feels equally valued. 

“Large companies want to protect the capital investment they’ve made in building out and customizing their headquarters whether it’s an owned space or a traditional lease,” says Brian Brown, Senior Director and Head of Irvine Company’s Flex Workspace+. “Tailored flex space is the missing puzzle piece to campus strategy, allowing the business to save money, scale, prevent downtime, and maintain their  brand.” 

mellohome customized their workspace with fun design details, like this indoor slide, that reinforce brand values.

Attract and retain top talent

Top talent, particularly tech talent, expects a highly-amenitized workplace experience with diverse food offerings, recreation areas and outdoor space. These expectations can put smaller businesses with less robust office offerings at a recruitment disadvantage. Campus workspace flips the equation. 


“For a startup company to be able to have office space this nice, that’s unusual,” says Menlo Microsystems CEO Russ Garcia of the company’s Discovery Park campus location. “When a top candidate comes in for an interview and they experience our space and all it has to offer, this can be a tie-breaker that helps them choose us.”

How Campus Office Drives Innovation

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