Can you believe it's November? And with the fall comes the grand opening of the new Building 99, which will house Microsoft Research. Through 2009, Microsoft will bring on-line office space that will expand the main campus by a third, with room for 12,000 more people. It builds on the Microsoft Workplace Advantage effort.

Benjamin J. Romano is a Seattle Times technology reporter, and yesterday had a front page look at the expansion going on at the Microsoft main campus.

"Every weekday, the population of a small city migrates from around the region to Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond.

"They work in more than 70 buildings spread out on both sides of Highway 520 for a mile. The 388-acre corporate campus, one of the world's largest, consumes enough electricity to light some 50,000 homes."

As noted in the story, Microsoft's local population has grown quite a bit...

"a local work force that has grown 83 percent since 2000 to 35,510 on June 30 this year in the Puget Sound region (about 79,000 work for the company worldwide). Combined with temporary workers, vendors and support staff, the daytime population of the Redmond campus is between 45,000 and 50,000 people..."

Michael blogs about CNN's coverage of Workplace Advantage, Microsoft's workplace of the future.

"The CNN film crew ended up over in the patterns & practices space after they discovered that our team had already moved into one of these "future" environments.  The segment is interesting, and highlights a number of things that the Workplace Advantage team is doing on campus and as they look ahead.  This segment is part of a series that also looked at a few other companies as well."

Is this a good investment? It seems to be.

As Adam Barr wrote in his blog, "it is nonetheless apparent that the company is prepared to spend some serious money here to get this right."

"If you're a Microsoft employee who is curious as to some of the plans, then schedule a tour of the Workplace Advantage showroom is Building 27. The former cafeteria has been remodeled into a mock office area that shows off different spaces: smart room (high-tech meeting room), standing meeting room (no chairs, high table, half the size of a traditional one), short-term parking (half-size office), closed workpoint (roughly 80%-of-full-size office), situation room (several offices and a meeting room in one open space) and a think tank (big open space with couches, displays, etc). Walls are often glass, of a kind that can be used like a whiteboard. Even the walls are covered in "high resolution paint" (no, really) which evidently does a better job of showing a projected image."

IMO, an investment in the workspace is an investment in the employee. 

Additional links from the Times: