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In creating a new Singapore office, Airbnb wanted to create a comfortable place for its employees.
With the total number of Airbnb travellers growing three times last year in the Asia Pacific region alone, the firm believes its employees are core to everything it does and believes in investing in them as the foundation to its success.
“The unveiling of our new home was an exciting moment for us because the space truly embodies what we value as a company: creativity, community engagement, and thoughtful design,” explains Ken Hoskin, head of APAC talent, Airbnb.
“This led us to develop the Employee Design Experience, a programme for employees from different departments to come together and engage in the process of bringing our office space to life. Each team worked together with designers to reimagine and create meeting rooms as real homes that you can stay at on Airbnb.”
This allows staff to strengthen their creative prowess through collaborative brainstorms and sourcing for locally designed materials.
“Belo 6 is a great example of how this programme went above and beyond in encouraging creativity and collaboration between employees. This room, or rather closet, is located in a back corner of the office – a forgotten space without a designated use,” Hoskin says.
The group of six guys who worked on this came up with the idea of creating the first Airbnb listing on the moon – a new space station.
Thanks to the team’s tenacity and creativity, the Belo 6 is now the ultimate clubhouse for Airbnb employees to play video games and watch movies.
“Overall, the Employee Design Experience helped our employees become more connected to not only the space they’ve selected and designed, but the company as a whole.”
An engaging office space goes beyond visual appeal but also creates a conducive and comfortable space for employees to develop their different strengths.
In line with that, Hoskin says the core of Airbnb is the connection between people and spaces.
“In designing the Singapore office, we wanted a space that encourages our employees to move around, interact across disciplines, and be inspired by one another. It ultimately motivates them to develop a better product and service for our community.
“In an open floor plan, you typically have two types of spaces, desks and meeting rooms. Here, we also focused on creating a third as well, community shared spaces. Couches scattered among the desks and standing desks also allow employees to have casual conversations, spontaneous collaborations, or informal meetings,” he adds.
With travel being the firm’s passion, Hoskin explains it is ingrained in everything Airbnb does.
“One of the most inspirational aspects of our office is the ability to experience travel without leaving the building, and we wanted to create a place that would bring our mission to life, a place where people could instantly see what’s at the heart of the company,” he says.
On what advice he would like give other HR directors when designing their offices, Hoskin say they should speak with employees and understand what they envision the office to be like, get them involved.
“At the end of the day, an office can also be a physical representation of who you are and what you believe. So stay true to yourselves and showcase your passions.”
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