Why Microsoft built treehouses for employee meetings

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The Redmond headquarters of Microsoft is surrounded by 500 acres of forest. Recently Microsoft has built a new type of work environment for its employees – treehouses. These innovative, outdoor meetings spaces are designed to help employees collaborate and feel the impact of nature on their creativity and peace of mind.

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Creative design

Peter Nelson, known for his TV series “Treehouse Masters” has been creating these outdoor meeting spaces. The buildings are made to expand as the trees grow and are expected to last over 20 years.

The first completed treehouse has charred wood walls, a high ceiling, and a skylight. Microsoft says it has a ‘gingerbread house’ feel. The hand-carved double door leads into a small room with a simple table and rust-red seats.

Many of the materials used are local or reclaimed and box benches, rust-proof rocking chairs, and an outdoor gas fireplace add to the impression of a sanctuary rather than an office space.

Employees can reserve the rooms for meetings and they are also able to work in the elevated roost, called the Crow’s Nest, if they’re looking for a change of scenery. The deck with cedar, weatherproof canopies jutting from tree trunks protects them from the elements.