Open Plan Office Space – An Interview with Chris Lunny from Facebook

Open plan office space is factoring into the discussion on workplace wellness, talent retention, and knowledge worker productivity. We recently spoke to Chris Lunny from Facebook about the open floor plan in the Facebook HQ building. Chris is the Director of Facilities, Culinary and Security with Facebook. He oversees Facebook’s global real estate portfolio. Chris is also a licensed attorney and lives in Mill Valley with his wife, daughter, and dog Ludwig. You can also hear Chris speak at the CoreNet Global EMEA Summit in Amsterdam this September.

Lunny_Chris_Photo_Amsterdam16Question 1:  Facebook made news last year when Mark Zuckerberg introduced FB’s newest HQ building to the world via a live video stream. This no doubt expanded the discussion about workspaces and new ways of seeing the office space, given Facebook HQ’s open office floor plan. What were the significant reasons for Facebook wanting to operate in an open floor plan? And how has the open office environment changed the working experience at Facebook?

Since its inception, Facebook has always been an open office plan company. From Mark’s dorm room, to the house he rented in Palo Alto, to our first commercial offices, the team has always been seated in that fashion. We feel that this type of seating fosters collaboration and teamwork. Since it was just a few engineers sitting around a kitchen table, the company has grown significantly both in size, as well as the types of business conducted. While the offices today continue to remain primarily open, we offer a variety of different work environments to accommodate all types of work styles.

Question 2:  Since the building opened, what is the biggest lesson learned to date?

Building 20 consists of a workspace bordered by an oval walking path that runs along the perimeter of the building. While we thought through the navigation of the office quite a bit before implementing this plan, one of the take-a-ways for our future buildings was that we needed to break up the open space even more.  Our next building will have a central “main street” run down the middle of the building with easy access to different teams.

Question 3:  What advice would you give to organizations who are contemplating an overhaul of their work environment and considering an open-­‐plan workspace?

You can’t please everyone all of the time.  While open plan works for the majority of our workforce, others prefer quieter, more secluded areas. Others might need private areas for phone calls and client meetings.  The key is to provide a variety of options so that depending on the type of work that the employee wants to undertake, they can find the right space for it.


Join us at a CoreNet Global Summit this year in Amsterdam to hear more about how Facebook is attracting and retaining talent while staying true to their startup roots. Get additional workplace and talent solutions from other companies like Cisco, Unilever, Deloitte, Capital One, The Hartford, Cornell University, Google, the General Services Administration and more!

Maximize your savings by registering early for Philadelphia – Early Bird Rates for the CoreNet Global Summit in Philadelphia expire this week!