Just another day at the office
Arrived at work, got a tattoo, let off a few rounds at the shooting range, slurped down a milkshake, squeezed in some work, met my boss in the tree house for a meeting, slid down the fireman’s pole to save time, had my hair done, did a bit more work, stared at the graffiti wall, went home...
Yup, that’s pretty much a day in the life of an employee at Missing Link in Johannesburg, the country’s biggest corporate presentation designers. Their offices take the bored out of the boardroom and so does their work; they help big corporates create presentations that are visually stimulating, informative and, above all else, memorable.
Their Fourways headquarters is at least as memorable as their presentations, and the rest of the world agrees. Missing Link’s office was dubbed “World’s coolest office: Most creative use of materials” by American entrepreneurial magazine Inc. Although they didn’t win any lavish prizes, the company’s managing director Samantha Dean feels that “the bragging rights are more than enough”.
“Our old offices were similar but when we moved to this bigger space we were able to do all the things on our wish list, which had gotten quite long over the years,” Samantha says.
Missing Link did not hire an interior designer to see out their office fantasies. Instead they used their own creativity with a bit of help from a project management team.
“We sourced things for the office from all over the place: second hand shops, demolition lots, and the regulars like Mr Price. We had six weeks to transform this empty shell, and we designed it so it wouldn’t look like just another Apple store, or whatever.”
Samantha says when first time visitors walk into the zany office space their first reaction is usually shock. “It’s like a sensory overload,” she says. From the receptionist’s "desk" (a repurposed Victorian ball and claw bath - complete with toilet and sink in the background) to the vibrant graffiti wall to the in-house tattoo parlour to the boss's tree house office, this is definitely an office like none other.
The Missing Link offices were designed for both employees and clients to enjoy. The company has always sponsored tattoos and piercings, and their new parlour hosts their favourite tattoo artist once a year, plus guest artists are invited in on the second and third Wednesday of each month. On the first Wednesday of the month a beauty therapist does manicures, pedicures and massages, and every second Wednesday staff and clients can get a haircut or style from a professional.
Missing Link’s main objective is to teach clients that boring isn’t good, and their office is testimony to this. Their space is so popular that their clients try to spend as much time there as they can. “Clients always arrive early for meetings and often ask to hold their own meetings at our offices,” Samantha says.
Inc. Magazine has picked up on the positive impact on productivity that an amazing work environment can foster, and the employees at Missing Link certainly vouch for it. Wooden boardroom tables and black wheelie chairs are so passé.
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