When we think of working for a global e-commerce company like Lazada, what comes to mind is how stressful the job can be—especially during the holiday shopping season and yearend mega sales. Orders come in droves so sales agents and delivery personnel must be working round the clock. The IT staff must be on their toes 24/7 making sure the site doesn’t bog down and consumers’ data are kept secure from unscrupulous elements.
While parts of this scenario may be true, it’s not the kind of vibe we got when we were recently given a chance to tour the Lazada One headquarters in Singapore for the LazMall Brands Future Forum. Everyone was busy doing their thing, yes, working on their laptops or discussing with their peers—but there was a general sense of cool and calm. And we think a big factor is their thoughtfully designed work space.
The Lazada HQ is housed in an 11-story building located at the central district of Bras Basah. Holding office there are the company’s regional and Singapore operations as well as the other companies owned by Lazada’s parent company, e-commerce giant Alibaba.
Lazada Singapore’s PR manager Joel Chan told us they have just moved in to the new office space last April. The e-commerce platform previously held its offices in a smaller space at AXA Tower which is currently being redeveloped by the Alibaba Group Holding to become Singapore’s tallest skyscraper.
The Lazada One HQ measures 109,000 sq ft so it’s quite massive. You won’t be seeing the typical office cubicles with partitions and walls in muted tones. Instead, it’s got lots of communal spaces as well as private spaces. The walls are painted in bright, welcoming pastel shades and some have beautiful murals. At the fifth floor, which is occupied by the Singapore operations, employees and guests are welcomed with a cozy living room setup, making the office space feel more like home than office.
Chan says the new Lazada HQ is designed to cater to different work styles and needs. “The name of the game is collaborative workspaces,” he tells us. They practice hot-desking—which means, employees may work at any available desk, though teams have designated areas. Workers can’t leave personal belongings on the tables, so everybody is provided with a locker.
This workplace has several soundproof pods in different sizes. “What's important for us is having many configurable spaces,” says Chan. There are breakout rooms equipped with audio-video equipment (TV screen, webcam, digital whiteboards etc.) and they use the Alibaba technology’s video hosting service. Being an online shopping platform, the office also has a livestream room, complete with green screen and filming equipment.
There are areas with couches and bean bags where employees can relax and put their feet up. There’s a ping-pong table that employees can use to destress after work hours, as well as shower rooms if they want to freshen up. There’s even a lactation room for women who need to express milk.
Lazada occupies six floors of the building and each floor has its own pantry with multicultural influences. There are tables and chairs inspired by the iconic void decks usually seen in Singapore HDBs (Housing and Development Board) or public housing. There’s a pantry area that exudes the vibe of old coffee shops or kopi tiam, and one that looks more like an American diner, with tilework and neon lights. The pantries are stocked with all sorts of snacks and fruits, and equipped with refrigerators, microwave ovens, coffee machines, and drinks dispensers.
The e-commerce company designed its work environment this way so that Lazada employees can be their most productive and creative selves. The goal is maximum productivity but also to inspire a collaborative culture in the company.
Photos courtesy of Lazada