Tucked away in the northwest corner of Microsoft’s main Puget Sound campus you’ll find an assortment of restaurants and shops that offer a burst of flavor and culture to please most any palate. It’s the last place you’d expect it, but amid the glass, stone and steel of a corporate campus you’ll find The Commons: 150,000 square feet of creature comforts and convenience that provide a place to gather over an organic, locally-sourced meal and a microbrew – and cross a couple of errands off your list on the way back to the office.
It’s all a part of Microsoft’s commitment to provide a comfortable work environment that makes it easier to get stuff done, not just on a professional level, but a personal level as well. And if that means making a space where employees, and their families, can relax after hours and take in the occasional live show, then so much the better. Here’s a rundown of the amenities that keep them coming back:
An East coast beach vibe on the Eastside
Since April of 2016, one of The Commons’ most popular establishments has been Boardwalk, a gastropub created in partnership with Seattle restaurateur and James Beard Award-winning chef, Maria Hines.
With Boardwalk, Hines took the local, organic approach that she pioneered with Tilth and Young American AleHouse and applied it to a dining experience that offers up coastal, boardwalk-inspired foods like hand tossed pizzas and house made gourmet hot dogs, as well as an assortment of other appetizers, entrees and desserts.
Small touches like the Mason jar glassware and wooden boats overhead help to play up the Atlantic City beach vibe that inspire Boardwalk’s name. Couple that with its low-key atmosphere and extensive happy hour menu and you’ll understand why Boardwalk is the destination of choice for an after hours libation, some live music or the occasional brew fest.
Pizza pie, made on demand
Another big draw is MOD Pizza, creator of the superfast pizza concept. MOD (Made on Demand) started in Seattle and it’s one of the fastest growing pizza concepts in the U.S., with plans to open 100 stores in the U.S. and overseas. Of course, none of that matters since this MOD is no further than a stroll across campus.
With MOD, the diner is in the driver’s seat, directing a member of the “MOD Squad” to create personal, Artisan-style pizzas and salads. Meals are ready in minutes and the price stays the same, regardless of toppings.
The menu offers 11 classic pizzas like the Calexico (red sauce, mozzarella, gorgonzola, chicken, jalapenos and hot buffalo sauce), as well as the option to create your own with one of five different sauces, six cheeses, nine meats and 16 veggies. And for those marathon-coding sessions many employees go for the Mega: two 11” crusts stacked together.
How about a game of soccer?
Keeping mind and body in top shape requires some sort of outlet for exercise. Fortunately, there’s a range of fields and sport court options within a stone’s throw of The Commons—everything from association football (what we locals call soccer) to bocce ball, basketball and beach volleyball. And the requisite equipment is available at no charge, making it easier to burn off the calories and blow off some steam.
Fortunately, for those whose sense of athleticism caters more to the slopes or the trails, Eastside Ski & Sport,is also located in The Commons. The full-service tech department comes in handy for employees wanting to keep their current ride tuned up, and full-time Microsoft employees enjoy a 15% discount on all full-price bikes. There’s also an assortment of skis, snowboards and all the necessary accouterments to stay safe and warm.
Keeping up your appearances
For more than six years Redmond Auto Salon has offered top-rate car care, customer service and convenience. From its facilities on Level X4 of the Commons parking garage (directly under Studio C), the salon offers premium car washing and detailing services. If that’s not enough, the salon’s smartphone app makes it easy for employees to schedule a detailing and service appointment at the building where they work on campus.
So no more excuses when the wheels aren’t looking the best for that night on the town, or hauling the family and friends around on weekends.
Saving you time and money in one fell swoop
The tech industry is known for its frenetic pace. In the midst of the madness, the financial pros at First Tech Federal Credit Union are all about making it easier to manage accounts and investments. First Tech recently remodeled the Commons branch to offer more personal service and help employees build a better tomorrow for themselves even as they’re helping build a better world.
Membership DOES have its privileges
There are some great perks to working at Microsoft, not the least of which is the many discounts at local businesses through the Microsoft Prime Program. It’s a lot to keep track of, so every week a different business is featured at the Microsoft Prime Desk in the Commons. Employees can stop by from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. to learn more about their products/services and the great savings available through Microsoft Prime.
Microsoft is known for drawing talent from around the world, so it’s only fitting that a company with such a culturally diverse workforce would create a place like The Commons where more than 44,000 people who call Microsoft’s Redmond campus their home away from home away can get things done.