Workday, Inc., a fast-growing software company, opened its new six-story, architecturally striking corporate headquarters building on Stoneridge Mall Road last week with a preview tour for several hundred guests and welcoming remarks by co-founder and CEO Aneel Bhusri.
The new headquarters, the tallest office building in Pleasanton, will be home to 2,200 employees, most of them from Workday's product and technology team. In addition to its 410,000-square-foot building, Workday is also constructing a new BART/Pleasanton police joint service center that will open this summer. Located on the ground floor of the BART parking garage next door, the center will be Pleasanton's first police substation and will support law enforcement efforts on the city's north side.
"When we set out to build our new headquarters, we wanted to design a state-of-the-art hub that will be a testament to our core values, including employees, customer service, innovation and fun," Bhusri said to the opening day crowd May 13.
"And, that is what we have done, representing our growth in this city and our strong partnerships with BART and Pleasanton," he added. "We've created a place that is an extension of our culture and brand, one that is built for continued innovation and one that reflects how our employees, most of whom are engineers, want to work and build products for the future."
Workday has its roots in the former PeopleSoft company, a Pleasanton firm that was taken over by Oracle. It is an on-demand financial management and human capital management software business started in 2005 in Walnut Creek by David Duffield and Bhusri. Duffield was also the founder and former CEO of PeopleSoft, where Bhusri was the chief strategist. In 2008, Workday moved its headquarters to Pleasanton with Bhusri as CEO and Duffield serving as the chairman of the board of directors.
In 2012, Workday launched its initial public offering. Shares were priced at $28. By Oct. 12 that year, the shares were trading at $48.69. The IPO raised more cash than any launch in the U.S. technology sector since Facebook's $16 billion IPO in May 2012.
In the 11 years that Workday's headquarters have been in Pleasanton, its employee base has grown to more than 4,660 locally and 10,500 worldwide. The company has more than 40 office locations. In addition to Pleasanton, its other large offices are located in Palo Alto, San Francisco, Atlanta, Boulder, Colo., Salt Lake City and Dublin, Ireland.
When Bhusri talked about "fun" in his welcoming remarks, he meant it. A tour of the new headquarters building showed Workday's emphasis on going beyond the usual workplace stations of a typical software company. The new building has:
* A cafe called the "Data Diner," with free bagels and cereals at breakfast-time. It also has a 12,000-pound pizza oven and a smoothie bar for later in the day.
* A coffee bar, called "XpressO, with free beverages all day long.
* Great rooms, with comfortable sofa-like chairs that make them feel more like large living room spaces, where employees can come together to collaborate, hold large meetings or just relax.
* WIFI accessibility throughout the campus.
* Two spacious balconies on both sides of the second floor where employees can enjoy fresh air while they work.
* A Customer Center that includes suites, which allow for customized settings for customer visits.
Outside, there's a large grassy area suitable for volleyball and other games and an amphitheater that can hold up to 1,500 employees.
Workday also allows employees to bring their dogs to work, as Duffield allowed at PeopleSoft. This keeps the interests of Duffield and his wife Cheryl alive. The new headquarters building even has a dog run where employees can take their dogs to run around and play throughout the day.
The Duffields are known for their philanthropic activities on behalf of animals. In 1994, they established Maddie's Fund, named after Maddie, their Miniature Schnauzer, who died of cancer in 1997. The Duffields have endowed the fund with more than $300 million, and have spent millions more to save the lives of dogs and cats.
With its new building next to the West Dublin-Pleasanton BART station and the BART parking garage, Workday has created a transit-oriented development. Besides its accessibility to BART, it also includes a shared-ride passenger drop-off area for shuttles, buses and vans.
John McPartland, who represents Pleasanton and other Tri-Valley cities on the BART Board of Directors, told the opening day crowd that the public-private partnership Workday has developed with BART and the city of Pleasanton "serves as a model for the nation."
"This is beneficial to all three parties," he said. "The BART station now provides mass transit access right to the center of this high-tech campus, carrying workers to their jobs."
Creating a complex that has employees taking BART to Pleasanton eases the near-capacity commuter crowds going the other way, especially during rush hours, he explained.
Another speaker, Pleasanton Vice Mayor Karla Brown, also praised Workday for its efforts in creating "this incredible partnership" with the city and BART.
"It goes without saying that we have developed a strong, quality partnership," she said.
Located in the heart of the Workday corporate center that includes other office buildings owned or leased by the company on either side, the new headquarters building also adds significant value to Pleasanton in terms of property taxes.
Tina Olson, the city's director of finance, said that while the final assessed valuation for the new Workday building won't be available until the 2019-20 or 2020-21 tax roll, the assessed valuation for construction in the last fiscal year was $21.2 million. "The total assessed valuation for Workday in FY 2018-19 is $184.2 million," she said.
Added City Manager Nelson Fialho: "In addition to the estimated assessed value, Workday was able to provide other benefits to the community, including a police substation in north Pleasanton, improved traffic circulation in the Stoneridge Mall area, an improved BART pedestrian plaza and by bringing economic benefits to the Tri-Valley with high wage and tech jobs."
"We're happy to have Workday in Pleasanton," Fialho said.
Allison Kubota, Workday's corporate communications representative, said the building was designed with minimum 90-degree angles throughout.
"This means large, custom cement pillars have rounded angles to support Workday's overall brand and the horizon arch above our company's logo," she said. "The building, which has 1,620 glass window panes, has been constructed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum, the highest level of LEED certification."
"The building uses a 'cool' roof to mitigate the urban heat effect," she added, "while a large, 865-kilowatt solar array provides up to one-third of the building's daily electricity needs. We've also installed an innovative onsite graywater recycling system that will save up to 720,000 gallons of water annually."
In his opening day remarks, John Bruno, vice president of Workday's global real estate group, thanked Pleasanton's city staff for its ongoing support over the last four years to Gensler Architects, the building's design team, and to DPR construction in overseeing and aiding in the required entitlement, permitting and inspection processes.
"This was an ambitious project that we were able to make a reality," he said, citing everyone's support.