Yammer Talks Your Head Off

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The area does remain tough, said Jim Collins, a vice president for Shorenstein Realty Services L.P., which has invested more than $80 million to improve 1355 Market. But “the tenants that have signed leases are all visionary, and they can look at the landscape and see what it can be.”

The landlord expects to fully lease the 735,000-square-foot building by summer’s end. Nearly 340,000 square feet at neighboring 1 10th St. are under redevelopment and should be ready in mid-2014. Up to 6,000 workers should ultimately occupy Shorenstein’s buildings, Collins estimates.

Dolby Laboratories Inc. should add 700 more at its new headquarters, 1275 Market St. Meanwhile, Square Inc., which makes mobile credit-card readers, is to relocate its headquarters to 1455 Market St. by mid-2013. It plans to employ nearly 1,000 people by year’s end. Thousands of apartments and condominiums also are under construction or being planned.

For now, though, Yammer’s third-floor space feels like a sanctuary in a storm: clean and formal, but not uptight. Walls are predominately white with an occasional panel in Yammer’s turquoise blue. Soft-lined furniture in the reception area and lounges mixes the same blue with celadon and lime green, plus splashes of gray, taupe, yellow, black and orange. Huge windows line the periphery of the doglegged space, and natural light fills the interiors. Sacks, Woolway and two others have private offices.

Yammer serves breakfast, lunch and dinner from a full-service kitchen and maintains an 8,000-square-foot, all-hands all-purpose space. A game area features a pool table, foosball, ping-pong and air hockey. Furnishings include dozens of ottomans in the pointed-oval shape of a cartoon-speech balloon, and multiple couches that encircle or snake between structural columns. Picnic-table booths, transparent bubble chairs suspended from the ceiling, and a new seating arrangement called the haven—two facing high-backed benches covered in fabric—create various vignettes.

“A lot more [furniture] companies are coming out with products like the haven,” said Carol Philpott, an account executive with One Workplace, a Santa Clara distributor. “With private offices going away, companies are looking for ways to make a space within a space without having to build a wall.”

Four times a year, Yammer sponsors elaborate celebrations for workers. The Yammer Holiday Masquerade at the San Francisco Design Center on Henry Adams Street featured Cirque du Soleil performers. “It was an unbelievable night,” said Marilyn Tortorice, director of corporate leasing and events, who helped oversee the Market Street interiors project.

Yammer workers at the old Townsend location enjoyed their electric, height-adjustable desks so much that the company purchased the desks for every employee when it moved; it has nearly 500 in all. Philpott estimated the investment at $1,200 a desk or more.

For all their numbers, the Yammer conference rooms don’t seem ubiquitous or overwhelming. They are largely in the office’s darker corners and near the elevators, leaving the terrain closer to the windows available for workers’ desks and other uses. Tortorice tried to avoid anything about the space “that has that corporate or financial office-y feel,” she said. “We want people to like it here.”

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