13 of the best ‘office hacks,’ according to an ex-Googler

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Larry Gadea.
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Larry Gadea

For someone whose hack got him noticed by Google at just 18 years old, it’s no surprise that Larry Gadea is still fascinated by hacks a decade later.

After interning with Google through college and working at Twitter for two years after graduation, Gadea decided to pursue his own startup.

While searching for an idea, Gadea noticed that larger companies like Apple and Google had some in-house office hacks that didn’t seem to be accessible to smaller businesses.

In response, he founded Envoy, making it his business to make one specific office hack, visitor sign-in software, accessible for more than just the larger businesses.

In a similar spirit, Envoy launched a podcast this spring dedicated to exploring and sharing office hacks found in companies like Stitcher, Mozilla, and Slack. Gadea also included instructional “how to” blog posts.

“It kind of came from the same idea of why we even started Envoy,” Gadea told Business Insider. “We noticed that people were building things in their own office and a lot of companies were just rebuilding the same thing … the point of [our podcast] Office Hacks is to kind of highlight some of the fun, quirky things that people are doing in their office to make it more efficient but also make it more enjoyable.”

Here are some of the best office hacks from startups:


Office hack #1: Weebly’s secret room

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Envoy

At Weebly, employees pull a specific book on the book shelf and the door opens to reveal a hidden space …


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Envoy

… which even includes a bar.

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Envoy

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Envoy

Office hack #2: Slack’s mobile meeting booths

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Envoy

Slack uses these 6.5-by-6.5-by-7 cubes on wheels as mobile meeting spaces. They can be repositioned anywhere in the office, changing up the traditional meeting.


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Envoy

Two mobile meeting booths can even be connected to form a mobile conference room. The capacity, according to the podcast, is 12 people.


Office hack #3: Social Print Studio’s ‘microwave of shame’

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Envoy

At Social Media Print Studio, which has a fully stocked kitchen equipped with appliances and a company culture that promotes eating healthy, employees are shamed for eating microwavable meals by being forced to use the microwave in the middle of the office.


Office hack #4: Envoy’s robotic sales gong

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Envoy

Envoy’s office hack is a customized gong to celebrate new customers – or “a geeky way to make sales exciting in an engineering-driven company.”


Office hack #5: The Hootsuite ski village

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Envoy

Hootsuite is located in Vancouver, Canada. To celebrate its Canadian heritage, the company has created a mini Canadian ski village inside its office. Cabins, named after famous ski hills, act as quiet work spaces for employees.


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Envoy

Office hack #6: Pub Nub’s internet coffee

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Envoy

Pub Nub decided to hack the discrepancy between the demand for coffee and the amount of coffee actually in the pot (it was frequently empty) by purchasing a small weighing scale, breaking into it, and then connecting the sensor to the internet so employees can monitor the coffee level from the comfort of their desks.


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Envoy

Office hack #7: Mozilla’s HiFi Raspberry Pi

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Envoy

Mozilla hooked this vinyl record player up to the internet to stream it digitally to employees through their computers.


Office hack #8: Grip Limited’s office slide

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Envoy

Taking a note from the infamous slide found at Google’s campus, this Toronto-based advertising agency installed a giant slide in the middle of its three-story office.


Office hack #9: Rethink Communications’ ping-pong boardroom table

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Envoy

Rethink Communications rethought the placement of the ping-pong table and brought it into the boardroom. It’s not only economical, but (hopefully) idea-inspiring.


Office hack #10: Bottle Rocket Studio’s virtual high-five

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Envoy

Bottle Rocket Studios, in Addison, Texas, has rigged up an Amazon Dash Button, a severed rubber hand, and a chat messaging service so employees can send each other virtual high-fives.


Office hack #11: Howdy’s lunch bot

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Envoy

This Austin-based chatbot startup hacked group lunches by making the decision process easier through a chatbot in Slack where coworkers can vote for the type of food they’re in the mood for or which restaurant sounds good.


Office hack #12: Rethink Communications’ Lego room

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Envoy

Rethink also created this Lego wall in its office to inspire employee creativity.


Office hack #13: Mozilla’s ball pit

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Envoy

Mozilla has a ball pit in its office where employees can go to blow off steam.