First impressions are hard to shake, and while that’s always been true on a personal level, it works the same for any office too.
The look and layout of an office can play a huge factor in how a client perceives a company. It’s the first thing they see after leaving the elevator and more often than not is a direct representation of the company itself. Drab cubicles lined up as far as the eye can see say one thing, and the open-plan, dog-friendly offices of Shopify’s Toronto location say something entirely different.

The visually striking offices of Shopify aren’t just a good representation of the company; they’re also designed with the employee at the centre of it all. According to Satish Kanwar, Director of Product for Shopify’s Toronto office, the idea of employee satisfaction was crucial to his motif. “Employees spend more waking hours in the office than anywhere else,” explains Kanwar. “More than anything, it needs to feel like home. So, with that in mind, I spoke to team members and employees to get their input before starting the project.”

"Employees are still free to play ping-pong, grab an espresso, or even check out a beautiful view of the CN tower from their rooftop patio..."

In this case, getting employees’ input goes far beyond choosing colour schemes too. All 35 of the breakout rooms at the Shopify offices were named by the employees, with villains’ lairs upstairs, like Bowser’s Castle, and good-guy hideouts downstairs, such as the Fortress of Solitude. When they’re not working on secret projects in the Bat Cave, employees are still free to play ping-pong, grab an espresso, or even check out a beautiful view of the CN tower from their rooftop patio, all of which keeps the current employees happy and ultimately attracts the best of new recruits.

“Most new employees are shocked at the openness and brightness of the space, not to mention access to different rooms and foods,” Kanwar says. “The whole office is optimized for both introverts and extroverts, with areas that spawn creativity, as well as private nooks for more quiet tasks. Worker well-being is the goal here, and as for new employees,  it’s designed to draw the best in the country.”

The Shopify offices are a prime example of where creativity meets employee satisfaction. The design of an office is what clothes are to a person: the first, and often lasting, impression of character.