The 10 coolest office spaces

Glassdoor recently shared some interesting facts about office space interiors and how they influence the rankings of the best places to work. No surprise that an aviation organization isn’t listed in the top 10.

While beige office walls may help keep some focused on the work at hand, for others it’s often seen as a blank canvas for fostering creativity. Whether it’s halls decorated like the New York City subway system or a floor-to-ceiling spiraling slide, these 10 companies show how to use and design office space in a whole new way.

See which photos employees have shared on Glassdoor that make up our list of 10 offices you wished you worked in:

1. Epic, headquartered in Verona, Wis., has designed an office hallway to look like the New York subway. More Epic Photos.

2. Google keeps some fun in mind at one of their offices as employees can literally slide from one floor down to the next.  More Google Photos.

3. Microsoft employees pull up a seat around this large touchscreen tablet table. More Microsoft Photos.

4. Infosys brings games to one of their offices by adding in a bowling alley. More Infosys Photos.

5. Boxheadquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., has a playful take on seating arrangements as they added swings to their office. More Box Photos.

6. Facebook employees can take advantage of a video game room. More Facebook Photos.

7. Groupon breaks away from traditional office norms by adding color and modern design to their office. More Groupon Photos.

8. Edelman, a multinational public relations company headquartered in Chicago, Ill., also adds bright colors and modern design elements. More Edelman Photos.

9. Autodesk employees collaborate in architecturally interesting spaces. More Autodesk Photos.

10. HUMAN Healthy Vending adds comfy chairs that line its reception space. More HUMAN Healthy Vending Photos.

Top 10 Airports in Europe

Here are the top 10 airports in Europe based on current ratings, as reported by a fellow professional blogger.

  1. London Heathrow Airport
  2. Frankfurt Airport
  3. Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport
  4. Amsterdam Airport
  5. Gatwick Airport
  6. Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport
  7. Madrid Barajas Airport
  8. Paris Orly Airport
  9. Munich Airport
  10. Zurich Airport

I am not too surprised by the rankings, but I did expect Munich airport and Paris Orly to feature a bit higher up in the rankings. Conversely, I am not sure about the position of Paris CDG.

I’ve been to the Helsinki Vantaa airport also, and according to me it deserves special mention. It is continuing to be the focal point of airport development in Europe, a project many can learn from.

Nagpur – Future Aviation Hub

The passenger airline business is booming in India. The number of commercial aircraft is estimated to grow to more than 500 from the current 270 over the next five years. New airlines like Kingfisher, Indigo, Spice Jet, Go Air and Air Deccan are expanding their fleet.

A few months ago, American aircraft manufacturer Boeing decided to set up a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility in Nagpur with a $100 million investment. Now, it’s the turn of European Airbus Industrie to follow suit. It has approached the state government to set up a similar facility near Nagpur.

Boeing had earlier said its investment in Nagpur would come on the back of a joint venture with Air India. It is seen as Boeing’s commitment to plough back part of the money it makes by selling 68 aircraft to AI.

The rush to invest in Nagpur was triggered by civil aviation minister Praful Patel’s plan to convert the Orange City, the geographic centre of India, into an international cargo hub. As a first step, he initiated a plan to build an airport for cargo operations.

Cargo carriers are expected to get another shot in the arm when the many special economic zones (SEZs) that have been proposed go on stream. It is expected that aircrafts dedicated exclusively to cargo will go up to 550 in the near future from the current 10-15.

Besides, big business houses have announced their plans to enter the organised retail business where logistics are crucial and cargo crafts will be in demand. It is believed that this is the reason Reliance is in the market for anywhere between 50 and 100 aircrafts to power its retail business.

iFLEX – From Fixed to Flex Routes

Most of the next generation Air Traffic Management (ATM) initiatives like Next Gen and SESAR are set to minimize delays and increase capacity both on the ground and in the airspace. One cornerstone of these projects is trajectory optimization. The gate-to-gate optimization concept where a flight is transported from end to end using state-of-the-art technology and much more direct routes.

The problem with this ideology is that a very large constraint already exists within the airspace. The presence of airways and waypoints not only limits opportunity for optimization, but also results in airspace saturation. Most of the airways are created specifically for a particular city-pair due to high demands, but 10 years later the airlines don’t fly that route anymore and the airways remain. Many such airways and waypoints exist in today’s aeronautical infrastructure that are rarely or never used.

This brings an interesting discussion forward. If there were no airways, would there be better scope for optimization. Yes. But it would be at a higher risk level. Hence, in low density airspace, where there are very few aircrafts flying per day, such a concept can be utilized to its potential. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has launched an initiative called iFLEX, which will enable aircraft to fly a more flexible trajectory from origin to destination. The optimization process begins at the Flight Planning phase, where the dispatcher identifies the optimum combination of airways, waypoints, significant points, VORs, etc taking advantage of the upper winds. Modern flight planning systems are very sophisticated and can calculate the time, fuel consumption, CO2 burn, payload impacts, overflight charges for a particular route on a particular day. No re-optimization is envisioned enroute and the ATC separation standards will remains the same.

Being a part of the iFLEX team at IATA, I must say this is a very compelling concept that could change the very nature of air transportation. Together with support from ICAO, Delta Airlines and Emirates Airlines, the agenda for 2011 includes conducting 3 workshops, demo flights and publication of the guidance material to implement flexible routings.

More information on iFLEX can be found here.