Photos: Offices in Silicon Valley That Are Way Better Than Yours

09 Nov 2011, San Francisco, California, USA --- Arcade games and a foosball table: a common view at social gaming giant Zynga's headquarters in San Francisco. Employees are welcome to play, even during office hours. --- Image by ? Karsten Lemm/dpa/Corbis
Photo: Karsten Lemm/dpa/Corbis

In the tech industry, free snacks and luxury shuttles are no longer enough. From putting greens to pod chairs, from Airbnb’s faux-pastoral living walls to Zynga’s game room, no expenses are being spared in the tech corridor’s arms race for office superiority. Some companies give out-of-office perks (Google employees can rent company shuttles at a discount for weekend parties), and some make do with catered lunches and Friday concerts.

And why not? Silicon Valley has more money than it knows what to do with, and tech contains one of the most competitive labor markets in the country. If a hot-shot engineer can be wooed by the promise of a roof deck and an espresso bar, these renovations will pay for themselves and then some.

It used to be that tech offices resembled middle-school playplaces — all air hockey and Nerf guns. Now the bright colors and ball pits have given way to faux-industrial setups and furniture that’s more likely to come from a salvage shop than a catalogue, the kind of enhancements that convey both riches and artsy sophistication.

Not every tech company splurges on setting. (Amazon famously uses plain wooden doors as desks and cheap chairs for every employee, even CEO Jeff Bezos.) But among the big and soon-to-be-big tech companies of the Bay Area, there’s no stopping the trend. After all, these companies do need productive employees. If your boss can make work feel like a playplace, that’s even less of a reason to clock out.

Airbnb, San Francisco

Photo: Carlos Chavarria
Photo: Carlos Chavarria

Box, Los Altos

Photo: Josh Edelson/ZUMA Press/Corbis

Dropbox, San Francisco

Photo: Bruce Damonte/ Boor Bridges Architecture
Photo: Bruce Damonte/ Boor Bridges Architecture

Google, San Francisco offices

Photo: Erin Siegal/Redux/? Erin Siegal 2008

Google, Mountain View headquarters

Photo: Erin Siegal/Redux
Photo: Peter DaSilva/The New York Times/Redux

Pocket Change, San Francisco

Photo: Courtesy of Design Blitz

Twitter, San Francisco

Photo: Kim Kulish/Corbis
Photo: Robert Galbraith/Reuters/Corbis
Photo: Doug Bowmann

Square, San Francisco

SquareTrade, San Francisco

Photo: Bruce Damonte/Courtesy of Design Blitz

Facebook, Menlo Park

Photo: PETER DaSILVA/epa/Corbis

Expensify, San Francisco

Photo: Courtesy of Design Blitz

Skype, Palo Alto

Photo: Courtesy of Design Blitz

Pandora, Oakland

Photo: Tom Hood/Courtesy of Pandora

Zynga, San Francisco

Photo: Karsten Lemm/dpa/Corbis

Uber, San Francisco

Photos: Silicon Valley Offices