COOLEST OFFICES: Jet.com 221 River St. | Hoboken, NJ 07030 | jet.com
Jet.com is an online retailer that charges bulk-size prices for individual-size purchases by allowing customers to group related items. Instead of buying five pounds of peanut butter, shoppers can buy a 16-ounce jar of peanut butter, then receive reduced prices on a 16-ounce jar of jelly. When someone buys sponges, it lowers the price of dish soap. It's like Costco without the membership fee or the schlep.
East Coast startup chic
THE COOL FACTOR
As soon as the elevator doors open to the seventh floor at 221 River St. in Hoboken, visitors are greeted with modern ambient music playing not-so-subtly. The dimly lit elevator bank has bands of purple running up the walls and across the ceiling as if you’ve just walked into one of Jet.com’s signature shipping boxes.
Moving through the rest of the space, the furnishings and décor are both rustic and industrial. The walls and ceilings are designed in a crosshatch to look like the corrugated material inside cardboard boxes. “In the end, we ship boxes, so we wanted to keep it real and avoid being too glossy,” said Christina Antonopoulos, vice president and creative director of Jet.com.
In what looks like a recreation room, a giant ticker hung on the wall posts real-time updates about daily sales and other data as employees have coffee and play pool.
In addition to looking really cool, Jet.com’s headquarters was designed to embody the philosophy of “hoteling.”
As cubical farms are thrashed and burned to make room for open concept office space, hoteling is becoming a popular form of office management. Generally speaking, employees in this type of environment either sign up for a space on a day-to-day basis or just pick an open chair, sit down and get to work. There are no permanently assigned desks or workspaces.
The initial concept was to have the roughly 275 employees at Jet.com’s headquarters choose a spot at will each day. In demonstration of the egalitarian company culture, even the co-founder and CEO, Marc Lore, is a “floater” who chooses to work from different areas around the office rather than have a designated desk or private space.
Employees have access to a variety of spaces they may need as they move through their days. There are café tables for collaborating and a riser with bleacher seating facing a floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the Hudson to sit, think and hope inspiration strikes. They also have an Innovation Lab for working out the latest technologies and studying how end users interact with the site.
Employees can choose from standing, sitting and transitional desks. There also are library tables where employees can spread out and corner nooks outfitted with comfy upholstered chairs and ottomans.
Because of the nature of some roles — whether a team of coders needs specific technical equipment at their workstations or an employee is embedded with a team — employees can choose to have a long-term workspace. However, each quarter, Jet.com has a “shake-up” and every employees has to pick up and move to a different area of the office.
Employees have lockers for personal belongings that are only slightly more glamorous than what they likely had back in high school. But it is considerably less likely their high schools served free lunch in smartly appointed kitchens and offered bridge-to-bridge views of New York City.
THE BUSINESS CASE
According to Antonopoulos, investing in the Jet.com headquarters at 221 River St. was one of the best decisions the company has made. She said the headquarters’ design reflects the company’s open culture and that has been very helpful for attracting the best possible talent from across the river and across the country.
Antonopoulos also noted the location is so close to the PATH, NJ Transit and Newark Liberty International Airport that it has made commuting and business travel much easier for the staff.