How MYOB employees helped design their new workspace

15th June, 2016

When designing a new tech hub, MYOB took a radical approach: it let the employees take the lead in its design.

The tech company unveiled the new office today in the heart of what is quickly becoming a tech neighbourhood at Richmond in Melbourne.

Converted from a dilapidated warehouse into a futurist workplace, the office has all the mod cons you’d expect of a tech company.

Inception rooms to foster innovation, plug and play technology, informal meeting spaces and a funky garage space for meetups and hackathons all feature in the new office.

At each stage the office was designed based on feedback from MYOB employees on how they work and how they would like to work.

“This is not your typical corporate office. The way we work is becoming more fragmented and the MYOB office is an embodiment of this,” said Angela Ferguson, architecture firm Futurespace’s managing director.

We took the time to understand what MYOB’s employees wanted from the space, plus how they worked, and combined this with MYOB’s values of innovation, collaboration and high performance.”

The space is described as the physical embodiment of the agile approach to software development.

“For instance, the employees asked for lots of walls to write on,” explained Ferguson.

“However, in an open warehouse with few walls this was a challenge. So we introduced mobile scrum and Kanban walls that didn’t close in the space or take away natural light.”

Tech hub open - Twitter

Tech hub open - Twitter

The building now houses 200 of the company’s engineering and development employees, and the design and location of the office was chosen with the best chance of attracting and retaining top-notch tech talent.

“We wanted to create an inspiring, contemporary, technology hub for our people to collaborate, innovate and interact that reflect our values, brand and unique culture,” said MYOB’s head of people and culture, Alla Keogh.

“It is a place for our product development and user experience and design teams to be inspired to build world class software products for our 1.2 million clients.”

By tapping the insights of its employees, MYOB didn’t just create an office to fill people with. It asked the people it wanted to attract and retain to their organisation to help design the space.

Cutting-edge workspace features

Designed for inclusion and diversity – The office includes a wellness/prayer room and a dedicated mothers’ room.

Garage-inspired space – An area that performs a variety of functions, like meals, quick coffee meetings, games and down time (including a ping pong table and retro arcade games), team meetings and a space for meetups and hackathons.

Inception rooms – Spaces that teams use to explore ideas, begin a new project and ‘create’. These rooms have flexible furniture along with digital and analogue tools for co-creation and collaboration.

Platform spaces – Designed to occur throughout the workstation areas, they provide a relief for the workspaces and can be used for chance meetings, quiet work, small team meetings, brainstorming and relaxation/rejuvenation.

Tiered bleacher-style seating area – This can be for large ‘all staff’ meetings and has a video link to other MYOB offices. This can also be used for individual quiet work, informal meetings and other small to large gatherings.

Booth seating – These are essentially informal meeting rooms. They are designed so the team can feel relaxed and be more productive and engaged.

Plug and play technology – This means the connection with other MYOB teams in different locations is seamless. The technology is intuitive, easy to use and instant.