2014 update : this continues to interest me and I was lucky enough to hear…
I’ve written before about the power of the office environment when it comes to running software development teams. Here at iProperty we’ve been through a number of different offices and have been in our current digs at the Gardens North Tower for over 18 months. Originally we were sharing the space between IT, Finance, HR and senior management but, as the business grew, we managed to claim the entire office for IT.
Because the office was originally designed with corporate functions in mind, it felt a little conservative and traditional. In the developer areas we’d arranged to have everyone sitting within close proximity, facing each other and without partitions separating them; however the corporate section had large desks, partitions and visitor chairs.
My goal was to try and make the office feel a bit more fun, but with a lease which runs out this year I didn’t want to invest huge amounts in refurbishing and redesigning the office. We were left with a big empty space to fill and I’d like to share some of the things we’ve done.
We started by adding another row of desks. Not very exciting, I’ll grant you but a necessity and it gives us options to play with as new staff come on. The next step was to get in some beanbags in varying sizes. These are useful for sitting on during informal meetings and we can also use them for our regular technology sharing sessions.
The beanbags are arranged around the new TV so they’re handy for viewing presentations (and the occasional StreetFighter battle on the PS3).
If you need a break from your tasks, why not have a quick game of pool or table tennis?
And if you’ve worked up a thirst, head over to the fridge to grab a soft drinks or make yourself a Green Tea or coffee.
Since we’ve added these little extras to the office, we’ve found that visitors from the other iProperty offices spend more time here and are more likely to interact with the IT teams because they’re already on site. This is a big plus. It’s also a perk for the team working here and makes the office a little more comfortable to be in.
We’re also keen to share the space with outside groups and host tech community meetings. In January we hosted the Agile Malaysia meetup in the office and managed to squeeze 40 people in to listen to a presentation. Unfortunately the beanbags hadn’t arrived by then but next time we’ll be able to offer squishy seating.
Of course we also need to ensure that teams get what they value most – interesting work and working with other like-minded and motivated, skilled people. But additional benefits like this which help us build a fun and exciting working environment are a good building block for making iProperty a great place to work.