Hard work playing off

I love teaching but after yesterday’s tour around software giant Adobe’s 280,000-square-foot campus located just south of Salt Lake City, I was contemplating a change in careers all because of the amenities offered at the company’s four-story facility, which employs around 1,500 in one of the most flexible work environments – you can head down to The Bunker to play video games if you’re ahead on your work, organize a game of pool or ping pong with your colleagues or hit the gym like the true workaholics who bring a laptop down to the cycling workstation.

Touring the current building, just the first phase for Adobe as there’s plans for two more, I admired the rock-climbing wall, deluxe employee cafe and yoga room. The building, which is open 24/7 for employees, is actually two separate structures in case of a seismic event since Salt Lake sits on the active Wasatch fault; there’s almost a whole other building underground.

Along with flexible hours and kick ass amenities, the interior design is just as creative as Adobe’s suite of innovative programs, namely InDesign and Photoshop, and focuses on employee health and well-being with open “floating” workspaces, vivid colors and the least amount of doors and walls that encourages employees to interact and collaborate out in the open and not sit behind a computer in their cubicle all day. There’s a stellar 360-degree view of the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountains from just about anywhere, providing another reason to use the stairs around the magnificent 44-foot tall floor-to-ceiling glass atrium. The biggest perk? A service desk for you to drop off your dry cleaning or schedule an oil change for your car, since these things can take away from your workday and Adobe wants its employees to be more effective in all aspects of their lives.


JD talks about the 75-foot spray-painted mural courtesy of Los Angeles street artist El Mac.

The tour guides JD and Eric work in sales so who better to stoke up a group of high schoolers (and their teacher?) They gave us specific instructions to photograph anything but the “NASA wall,” a dashboard that monitors real-time Adobe analytics from daily hits, returning visitors, weekly and monthly visits. It looked super cool.

JD asked my group why these numbers were so important and when no one responded, I chimed in: “For sales.” Exactly, he said. “The customer is everything to Adobe…OK, why else would these numbers be important?”

Again, crickets.

“To know the audience,” I said.

Another correct answer. Go, teach! We moved on to another talking point and I hung back to ask Mike if those numbers fluctuate when there’s big news. He told me that sometimes the numbers will dive drastically; often they find out about news before the news breaks, like if Singapore goes offline and web traffic plummets, they know something’s happening. I asked if the goal was get to more visits, and while he said yes, it’s really a full-circle experience for the customer in trying to find out what their behaviors are, what they’re predicted to do next and how to better serve them and make more money.


Interactive screens like this highlight real-time Adobe activity worldwide.


Green space above the central server room.


Adobe harnesses heat from the building’s computer servers to warm the atrium.


Working at Adobe perks: secure parking.


Editor’s on the Yearbook staff at Adobe for Yearbook Camp.


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