Heineken On Brewing An Open-Office Culture

Set on the upper floors of a White Plains high-rise, Heineken USA’s LEED-certified corporate digs are, actually, not very corporate at all. Proof? There’s a bar in the office, for one. A foosball table, for another. And wherever you turn, there’s a top-to-bottom embrace of the all-the-rage “transparent” culture: glass-walled offices for the higher-ups (even the CEO), open workspaces for the non-office dwellers, and open meeting spaces scattered every which way.

In all, the office is two stories, 53,025 square feet, and home to 150 of the company’s 523 US employees. Here’s an inside look:

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When the headquarters was completed in 2011, former Heineken USA CEO Dolf van den Brink (now heading up Heineken Mexico) eschewed the wooden panels that blocked his office from view in favor of see-through glass. The message is consistent with other companies that have pursued a similar open-office route: The lines of communication are open; ideas are flowing freely; and there are no secrets here. 

Every Thursday afternoon, there’s a Happy Hour at the lobby bar, complete with a bartender doling out Heineken-brand brews, which might include Strongbow, Dos Equis, Amstel, Tecate, or Newcastle, among others. Tastings happen here, too, when a new product is launching. The bar is equipped with a retractable projector-screen TV, which makes appearances during events like the World Cup.

When you step off the elevator and into the lobby immediately outside the office, you’re greeted by a whopping 2,520 green lights. The lights are encased in portions of real glass Heineken bottles. 

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A mosaic-tile rendering of the Heineken logo is built into the ceiling. It’s positioned directly above a spiral staircase that leads to the office’s lower floor. Also pictured: that foosball table we mentioned earlier and a view of Northern Westchester.

Video conferencing with Amsterdam sounds exotic, but it happens frequently in this room, the executive conference room, which is wired to connect with global headquarters in the Netherlands. When it’s not being used for a trans-Atlantic huddle, it’s a regular old meeting space. And—fun fact—every meeting space at Heineken USA is equipped with cultural “pillar” cards, which say things like “decide and do” and “be brave.” Employees hold them up when the conversation seems ripe for one of their calls to action.

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