In the Workplace: On Point

Square uses its office design to reflect and foster the company’s creative culture

Devised by interior design firm Studio O+A, Square's padded cabanas are a centerpiece in Square’s office. “Since we have a wide-open office space, these can be a great space for ‘Squares’ to take time alone to focus, or meet with coworkers for smaller, more casual meetings,” says Maja Henderson, Square's operations manager. “The openness makes it easy for people to join at any time.”

A staff full of squares is something to encourage—at least for Square, Inc. Since its inception in 2009, the California-based company has nurtured an innovative work environment for its employees, who help in the company’s mission to make credit-card transactions seamless and possible from anywhere at anytime. With more than one million users, Square processes more than $5 billion in payments annually through its free credit-card reader for the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. “Our office environment reflects our culture and vice versa,” says Maja Henderson, operations manager. “For example, transparency is important to everyone at Square and a core part of our culture, so we wanted our surroundings to reflect this as well. The open spaces, glass conference rooms, and various social areas help us to achieve this in a natural way.” Here, Henderson gives us a walk through the company’s office space located in the historic San Francisco Chronicle building in downtown San Francisco.

Though they’re nowhere near New York, Square’s staff have their own Union Square to congregate in. “All of our conference rooms are named after famous city squares from around the world, and this one in particular is a great room for hosting visitors and important business partners due to its size and location,” Henderson says
Reflective of the company’s transparent nature, glass is a key element in the architecture and design of Square’s space—from its walls to its large windows overlooking San Francisco’s bustling downtown. Rows of monitors throughout the office also highlight the company’s key metrics in real time “so everyone in the company has insight into the performance of the company,” Henderson says.