The hot new amenity at Google and other tech companies? Tents

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Shelter Co., technically, is an organization that rents tents. However over the previous yr, the California-based occasions firm has pivoted from outfitting wedding ceremony venues, and is now creating outside places of work for one of many greatest corporations on the earth.

Centered totally on the West Coast, Shelter Co. has constructed its enterprise round offering every little thing individuals would wish to host a weekend wedding ceremony or household reunion outside. “The concept is, how will we allow individuals to throw a celebration for 200 individuals in the course of nowhere, what does that seem like, what do you want?” says Shelter Co. CEO and founder Kelsey Sheofsky. Over 9 years, the corporate grew from a handful of tents to greater than 500, and has used them to supply lodging and settings for every little thing from vacation spot weddings to company retreats.

After which the pandemic struck. “It canceled 100% of our enterprise final yr, which was startling, to say the least,” says Sheofsky. “However it type of gave us some downtime to consider how we wish to refocus issues.”

[Photo: Bess Friday/courtesy Shelter Co.]

At first, the corporate began working with eating places and wineries hoping to remain open throughout the pandemic by including extra outside amenities. Then, Sheofsky says, a earlier consumer reached out on behalf of its new firm: Google. The tech big had an RFP out for an out of doors workplace answer at its Mountain View campus, and after Sheofsky submitted a proposal, Shelter Co. was chosen to supply it.


In comparison with earlier work on short-term occasions like weddings and even these outside lodging for eating places, which had a shorter anticipated lifespan, the Google mission supplied an opportunity to assume extra deeply about how outside areas could possibly be designed to final a considerably longer period of time. “It was extra like, ‘Hey, what can we do that may work for a yr, and perhaps reinvent the best way that we’re gathering individuals for the long term?’” Sheofsky says.

[Photo: Bess Friday/courtesy Shelter Co.]

In a car parking zone, Shelter Co. created what Google has named Camp Charleston—a set of open-air tents with clusters of tables and Adirondack chairs that the corporate can use for outside conferences, together with bigger wood-framed tents with lengthy tables the place people can work. Constructed largely from Shelter Co.’s present stock of tents and supplies, the area is glamping-meets–company campus. The outside workspace is predicted to stay in use by means of the top of 2021. Google declined to remark for this story.

The Google mission led Shelter Co. to tackle other outside workplace area tasks, largely for other tech corporations. Resulting from nondisclosure agreements, Sheofsky is unable to call them, however says her firm has executed a number of and is bidding on a number of extra.

[Photo: Bess Friday/courtesy Shelter Co.]

“A few of the other locations that we’ve executed, they’ve been wanting issues which might be a little bit extra refined or extra consistent with the present structure of the campus or the office,” Sheofsky says. “That’s actually simply understanding the general vibe they’re going for; and we are able to purchase furnishings to go well with, we are able to line the inside of our tents with totally different shade materials, we are able to do totally different stains on our flooring.” Relying on the area, that additionally means making electrical hookups, putting in turbines, and even establishing new Wi-Fi networks.

Shelter Co.’s expertise is being put to make use of on one other mission for Google, at its Sunnyvale campus. “This one is a way more trendy design,” Sheofsky says. “All of the constructions are going to be very harking back to a greenhouse, so [it will incorporate] a number of nature.”

Sheofsky says the pandemic impact that’s inflicting corporations like Google to look outside for protected workplace area gained’t be a long-term focus for Shelter Co., however that she’ll trip the wave whereas it’s right here. And there might even be a facet of this new workplace work that endures. Sheofsky says the corporate has not too long ago been reserving short-term off-site occasions for corporations which have shifted totally to a work-from-home mannequin. “There’s a a lot larger want to have the ability to collect groups in a protected manner that’s additionally productive,” she says.

Although places of work are offering a new supply of enterprise for the corporate, the pandemic may very well be drawing extra prospects to Shelter Co.’s essential space of experience: outside weddings. “Persons are simply not involved in an indoor ballroom wedding ceremony proper now,” Sheofsky says.