Business & Tech

At Cayan, a new nap-, game-, and, yeah, work-space

The new work space at Cayan, an online payments firm based in Boston, seeks to promote collaboration among workers. It also features a nap room and a gaming room.
David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
The new work space at Cayan, an online payments firm based in Boston, seeks to promote collaboration among workers. It also features a nap room and a gaming room.

Just over a year ago, when the Boston-based electronic payments company Merchant Warehouse revealed it was changing its name to Cayan, its chief executive, Henry Helgeson, said it was a long time coming. The new name was more hip, he said, and it was a better reflection of their brand, which had evolved in the past 18 years from helping companies handle credit card transactions to one that was on the cutting edge of mobile payments.

Now the company has a new office space to match.

Cayan unveiled its redesigned 42,000-square-foot space at One Federal Street last month. The reboot was done in part to attract young, talented developers who would want to work at a startup, said Helgeson. The preexisting space, he said, “just didn’t have the technology vibe and appeal to the employees we’re trying to hire.”

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The result is a more communal layout that encourages collaboration. In the open kitchen in the center of the office, you’ll spot the requisite Ping-Pong and pool tables, but you’ll also encounter cozy booths that double as meeting locales. Instead of long, low conference room tables, Helgeson had them replaced with high-tops, like you’d see in a bar. The hope, he said, is that the change in perspective breaks down “unofficial hierarchies” and allows for more face-to-face interaction and movement, with the opportunity for people to hop off a stool and draw on a whiteboard with ease.

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“We’re trying to get more meetings on our feet,” he said. And if employees want a chance to get off their feet, they can retreat to one of the nap rooms, each outfitted with a red leather recliner where they can take a few minutes to unwind.

Like many businesses, Cayan has an office store where employees can pick up company swag. But in the new space, the store also serves as a retail experiment, where developers test the new payment projects they’ve been working on. “We can see how these products actually work in real retail environments,” Helgeson said.

Cayan also has offices in Belfast and Phoenix, and the leadership decided to install gaming consoles in the common areas to encourage camaraderie with their out-of-town colleagues. Now, Boston employees often take breaks to compete against employees in Belfast in rounds of Mortal Kombat, Call of Duty, and Grand Theft Auto.

Helgeson, however, hasn’t yet taken part. “It’s a lot of shooting zombie-killer games, which isn’t really my thing,” he said.

Janelle Nanos can be reached at janelle.nanos@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @janellenanos.