In contemporary offices, stairs no longer have just one purpose. For businesses like Yodle Inc., an online marketing company, the staircase is a statement of culture and personality. At Yodle Inc.’s headquarters in New York City, the stairs are a place to collaborate, have lunch, or give a presentation. For Yodle, the stairs are said to create openness and communication, which are two of the most important factors in offices today. Kimberly Sacramone designed Yodle’s offices on West 34th Street, and expresses the changing nature of the modern office concept. “In the past, companies might have organized themselves in different departments and might have been more isolated. Nowadays, people are trying to break down those silos.”
Other offices are starting to incorporate more cooperative stairs as well, making the staircase the new “heart of the office.” For example, WeWork Companies Inc., which specializes in shared office space, implemented a spiral staircase in their New York office on Park Ave. The stairway is able to connect three floors, encouraging workers to be social on their way up or down the stairs. WeWork’s co-founder and chief creative officer, Miguel McKelvey, believes that the spiral staircase promotes positive interaction. “You can’t look at your phone when you’re walking [on stairs]. You are looking around and up and more likely to see someone than if you were walking down a hall with your face buried in a phone.” In the age of technology, simple interactive encounters can mean a lot, even if it is only on the stairs for a few seconds.
The modern workplace is becoming more collaborative and innovative. But in an age where employees are messaging each other from a couple feet, modern staircases will hopefully transform from a mode of transportation to a place of human interaction.