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As one of the leading online travels brands, Skyscanner’s core values lie in having pride of work. Speaking to Human Resources in this exclusive; Pamela Knaggs, marketing manager (Singapore and Malaysia), Skyscanner emphasises the vital role of employee feedback in creating a productive culture.
How does creating an innovative and interactive workplace help with the company culture?
Our core values as a company focus on having pride in our work, work-life fulfilment, collaboration and a ‘master-teach-learn’ philosophy of constant improvement and learning. These values are at the heart of our office layout and design, our people-related policies, and how we work as a business.
They also reflect and support our hyper-growth environment, and are aligned with our mission to ‘create workspaces that inspire our staff to do the best work of their lives’.
The workforce experience at Skyscanner really sets us apart from the competition. We’re a high-growth, fast-paced business. From Skyscanner’s perspective, we need a workplace environment that supports that – one that allows for cross-country, cross-continent collaboration, remote working and much more.
Our offices around the world are painted in vibrant colours of cyan, citrus and pink; and this brings to life the energy and passion of a start-up, whilst showcasing our passion for creativity and innovation.
With similar design concepts consistently used across our 10 offices worldwide, visiting employees are able to feel that they are in a familiar work environment – even if it might be the first time they are visiting a particular office. This allows them to very easily be comfortable albeit in a new environment, and get in the groove of working.
We are also looking to new technologies to make office life easier. These include meeting room management, desk occupancy tools and other systems that can collect data that helps to analyse how our staff are currently using our spaces and, at the end, determine how to make them better.
Video conferencing facilities have also been installed in all meeting rooms, enhancing the interactions amongst teams around the world.
Are there any special facilities or amenities that you offer at your workplace?
We are constantly changing, evolving and growing. Hence, it is important for us to keep our staff excited and engaged. This is why we also ensure that our office spaces are designed with areas for “play” time to have some fun whilst working hard.
These include a board game table, ping pong tables and barista-standard coffee machines in the pantry to integrate fun in our employees’ daily lives. To improve employee well-being and engagement, we also recently added cocoon hanging chairs, a Lego wall, a fitness corner, a massage chair and shower facilities for our team to take breaks.
Just last month, we took the chance to celebrate Singapore’s uniqueness in our renovations by including a mini ‘Gardens by the Bay’ installation in our office.
In the Singapore office, we also have breakout and collaboration areas that encourage people to leave their desks and work in areas that inspire them. Whether to relax in between meetings, have a snack or for informal catch-ups and brainstorms, the spaces are made conducive for the exchange of ideas.
How do you align company goals with the environment at work?
We want to be the world’s most trusted and most used online travel brand in the world. That means we are constantly looking at new ways to make travel searches simpler, less time-consuming and save consumers money by offering unbiased, comprehensive and free search of travel options including online travel agencies. We also believe in providing local content to inspire and help consumers better plan their next adventure.
To achieve that, our offices are built with an open concept design where teams sit within their ‘squads’. We also adopt an agile working method with stand-ups, progress boards, sprints and showcases, and this gives everyone in Skyscanner insights into the work that is going on at any time, with plenty of channels to voice their opinions.
We believe that by creating this environment, our teams will be more inclined to bounce off ideas – encouraging creativity and productivity.
Our new additions to the office have also quickly become fun spaces for ideations, brainstorms and team meetings. In addition, we also encourage the swapping of seats to harness creativity from our diverse team. We find this a good way to ensure that as a business we maintain the attitude and advantage of a hungry start-up.
If you are in engineering and you sit near someone from marketing for the first time, you will understand the challenges and excitement of marketing a bit better than you did before. More than productivity, having an engaging office space improves communication and creativity, and keeps us on our toes.
What advice would you give other companies that are planning on redecorating their offices?
We are a product-focused company and tend to view almost everything as a product. While our offices across the world may have similarities – for example the colour scheme used is consistent across our 10 offices around the world – we understand the need for ‘localisation’.
Employee feedback is key in our decision making process and before setting out with our renovations, we took detailed feedback to hear what our employees were looking for.
Our advice for other companies planning on redecorating or renovating their offices would be to always listen to your employees. At the end of the day, by keeping your team excited and satisfied, you are then able to foster a motivated and engaged workforce, and ultimately improve productivity.
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