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Personal Space

Looks like an office, smells like an office . . . well, even if it doesn't, it's an office.

Gone are the days of oceans of gray pinstripes and coffee breaks at precisely 10 a.m. Today's office cultures are as distinct as, well, you are. Offices reflect not only entrepreneurs' personalities but those of your employees as well. Here's a peek inside the headquarters of three very different companies:

Pretty Fly

Headquartered in San Francisco, flyswat Inc., a company that creates tools and services for Internet browsing, epitomizes young Net culture at its finest. Twentysomething founders John Rodkin, Raymond Krouse and Leo Chang, have dumped 3,000 pounds of sand in their office to create an indoor beach complete with banana plants and tiki torches-a good complement to walls emblazoned with green grass and blue skies, and a central boardroom turned game room. Why the outdoor motif? When you and your 60-plus employees often work 70-plus-hour weeks, the office better be fun and convenient. And convenient it is--flyswat buys dinner four nights a week, has a fully stocked kitchen, futons for sleepovers, laundry facilities and a shower.

A Place Like Home

When you enter the 1912 converted farmhouse of Mission Critical Systems Inc., a systems and network security firm in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, you may be greeted with wagging tails and loving licks. No, owners Susan Crabtree and Frank Darden aren't that desperate for business; they have a pet-friendly policy. Alongside Crabtree's two shelties, you'll find 10 casually dressed employees with professional clothes (khakis and polo shirts) at the ready for client calls. The crew relaxes during Friday happy hours and office barbecues.

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This article was originally published in the May 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Personal Space.

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