Expedia’s Sydney head office is one of the coolest offices we’ve ever stepped foot into. Located in the city’s CBD, the travel-inspired three-story space has been designed to inspire employees and encourage collaboration.
As a global company, the space is fittingly inspired by the Australian lifestyle, landscape, and destinations. The Mr. Piccolo café, complete with wicker chairs and an espresso machine, will transport you to the hidden laneways of Melbourne, the wine bar will take you to the beautiful McLaren Vale wine region, and the playground complete with table tennis and indoor cricket will give you a dose of the great outdoors.
Everything about the workspace is #officegoals. The highlights? The muralled and travel photo-filled walls, the Bondi Beach-inspired meeting room, the abundance of greenery, and the collection of furniture that emulates a designer showroom. Talk about a dream office. We chatted to the company’s managing director, Michael Pearson, to find out how they created an office with such wow-factor. Read on the find out and take a tour of the seriously cool space.
MYDOMAINE: Who designed the space?
MICHAEL PEARSON: The space was designed by Gensler, a collaborative design firm. Their goal was to create a space that makes the Expedia team feel good, supports the work they do, is lovely to look at, and encourages collaboration.
MD: What was the inspiration for the design of the space?
MP: The space is inspired by Australian destinations and incorporates Expedia’s branding throughout with the office housing Expedia, Egencia, Wotif, Lastminute.com.au, and Hotels.com—all under one roof.
MD: What is your favourite item in the space?
MP: We have a laneway that’s made up of employee holiday photos. When designing the space, employees were invited to share their favourite holiday photos which were then framed and put up on the wall. There is also a beer keg and a barista coffee machine which gets a fair bit of use.
MD: What is one of the most impressive features of the space?
MP: It’s not only about work and travel at Expedia—we like to get away from our desks and play games too. In the playground area, you will often see the team playing table tennis tournaments or indoor cricket to break up their day.
MD: How long has the company occupied this space?
MP: Construction on the office started in March 2016, completed by May 28 with staff moving in on May 30, 2016.
MD: How many people occupy the office?
MP: The office space has capacity for 370 work stations, along with 23 meeting rooms, 19 huddle areas, and 44 pods.
MD: How does the space influence and impact the company and team culture?
MP: Our ultimate goal is to inspire our employees. We want them to feel comfortable in the space that they work in. It was important we stayed away from traditional spaces like enclosed meeting rooms and private offices. Around the office you will see glass walls, an open office plan, work stations, phone rooms, huddle areas to encourage people to move around, be transparent, collaborate, and talk to each other a lot more. Employees can feel comfortable to work from wherever they like, whether that be the Piccolo café, bean bags, couches, or the playground.
MD: How would you describe the environment and culture of the office?
MP: Our work environment is healthy, happy, and very collaborative. It was important for us to create a space that fostered all of this—and we are proud to say that our office reflects this. You won’t find any secret meeting or traditional hierarchical offices. Instead, it’s an open plan space with glass meeting rooms, sit-stand workstations, booths, bean bags, breakout spaces, wine fridges, a beer keg, an espresso machine (that comes with team training), and a playground. Whether employees want to escape to the outdoors of Byron Bay, explore hidden laneways like Melbourne’s Flinders Lane, or experience the amazing food and wine of the McLaren Vale, employees and guests can easily wander through the three levels and feel like they’ve escaped to a different place.