BETTER WORKPLACES – A general store hospitality-inspired office

BETTER WORKPLACES – A general store hospitality-inspired office

Entrance to the general store

WFH Employee preferences mean that workplaces need to use office space as a tool for communicating with employees. In Better Workplaces, AdNews looks at how agencies can use office design to entice employees to come in and create a company culture worth staying for.

Part creative studio, part production lab, relaxation area, and creative agency. The General Store is a hipso-inspired place where people come together – to be inspired, educated and entertained.

Taking over the 100-year-old Surry Hills building covered in colorful flowers, the building started out as a fashion manufacturing warehouse and actually caught fire in the 1980s (you can still see the section where the floorboards were replaced) and when the agency caught fire when I moved in, An old solicitor’s office has been around for about 40 years.

the outside

External office.

Now the interior design – inspired by a local café with dining tables and kitchen benches as staff desks – takes a more human and less corporate approach.

“Our view is that offices now need to compete for patronage. And who does it best? The hospitality industry,” said Matt Newell, partner and CEO of The General Store. News.

“We understood that one of the reasons people want to leave their homes is to socialize and collaborate.

“So we designed our office from scratch, and instead of using traditional workplace design, we used hospitality techniques.”

Overview of the kitchen area

Overview of the main common area.

To create a space that people actually want to be in, 75% of the office is bar and café seating with plenty of collaboration areas.

Only about 25% of the space is traditional office seating (boring but necessary), Newell says.

Designed entirely by the 20 architects and interior designers who make up the agency itself, the office was designed for their staff by their staff.

Informal seating areas for staff

Informal seating areas for staff.

“We are a multi-disciplinary creative agency with our own team of architects and interior designers. So, it made sense for us to design our Surry Hills office ourselves from scratch. It took us about six months from start to finish,” Newell said.

“We often have locals googling us, thinking we’re a new pub opening – so we’ve definitely nailed the hospitality vibe.”

From bistro-style seating to banquettes ideal for informal meetings or one-on-one work, the office studio is divided into several areas to cater to the different ways the multidisciplinary team works.

Informal seating details

“When you walk into our office, you might see a group of people working on their laptops at the open bar or one of our freelancers working at a small table,” Newell said.

Whether employees prefer to work alone or collaboratively, or if they’re chatting with a teammate or making a presentation to a client in the conference room, this desk has the perfect setting for every occasion.

Ribbon details

The main focus of the office is the seven-metre-long bar from which a tree grows, a great place for informal meetings, celebrations, lunches and dancing.

The bar hosts a range of drinks on tap and has been designed to accommodate up to 20 people dancing on it – the office also serves as a space for events hosting up to 100 people.

dinning table =

In front of the bar there is a dining table where the team can hold meetings or share lunch together, and for more private meetings, there is the option of closing it with curtains.

Decoration and sofa

The lounge area is ideal for brainstorming sessions and monthly family gatherings.

Board meeting room

There are also meeting rooms of varying sizes from board rooms for formal client presentations or smaller spaces for informal conversations.

Staff desks in the back and more casual seating

The “deep work zone” is the more traditional staff desk area where everyone has their own seat, but by and large the agency encourages people to sit wherever they like, depending on what they’re working on and what mood they’re in.

Each department of the agency was given a “home” where they could collaborate.

Architecture and interior design teams are often found in the materials library, while advertising and design teams often use the production set as a home base.

The materials library is a place where the architecture and interior design team can work alone or together, whether it’s showcasing the latest retail project or examining samples.

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