Instagram’s Sydney Office is as Cool as You’d Expect
The Australian head office of the two companies responsible for the sharing of two billion photos per day—Facebook and Instagram—is as innovative and evolutionary as the social media platforms it houses.
Located in Sydney’s CBD, the award-winning space is designed by Melbourne-based interior design firm Siren Design, and is a world away from your typical corporate office. It’s a place where a grocery store-like kitchen brimming with food and drinks is available for staff (you name it, they’ve got it), where you can work from its 180 degree view balcony over the city (or from the comfort of your own home if you fancy), and where the interior is complete with graffiti walls, designer statement furniture, sleep pods and garden walls.
Facebook and Instagram’s Head of Communications for Australia and New Zealand, Antonia Sanda, welcomed us into the inspiring headquarters and revealed why she loves going to work every day. Scroll down for a rare look inside the Sydney office of Facebook and Instagram.
What are the values of the company?
Instagram values are “community”, “creativity” and “simplicity” and the Facebook values are “move fast,” “be bold,” “focus on impact,” “build trust,” and “be open.”
How would you describe the environment and culture of the office?
The environment and the culture of the office is very open and transparent which is deliberately created that way. There are lots of open spaces, open meeting rooms and informal spaces. It’s not a structured office which really plays well to the culture of Facebook and Instagram—it’s very welcoming and relaxed. We have adjustable desks so people can work standing up, sitting down, or however we please. There’s also a strong flexibility of working from home as well—the goal here is that you make impact, it’s not necessarily the hours in the office, it’s about the impact you make in your role. The office is also brilliant because we have free food, there’s amazing drinks on offer and chocolate on tap, so there’s also a lot of perks as well.
How long have Facebook and Instagram occupied this space?
Facebook have been in this office since 2012—we occupied only the first floor initially and then we took over the second floor as we’ve expanded. Facebook bought Instagram when it was two and as the company turned five a couple of weeks ago, they have been with us for two and a half years.
How many people occupy the space?
It’s really hard to confirm a set number as there’s always people coming and going and we have different brands, but it’s approximately 50. Instagram is very small, only a handful of people are dedicated to Instagram. The majority of people work across both Facebook and Instagram.
What is different and unusual in the Facebook and Instagram office to typical corporate offices and previous offices you’ve worked in?
It is definitely less corporate than any office I’ve previously worked in. I’ve worked in digital companies and tech companies before, but the management is very open—our managing director sits in the office with us which plays on the fact that we want to be open, transparent and be able to share ideas. We believe that no matter what level you are, everybody has good ideas—not all great ideas come from the most senior person. Great ideas can come from anyone in the company, or outside the company.
What do you love most about the design and styling of the space?
I love the fact that you can take your computer away from your desk, sit down and work from anywhere. One of my favourite spots is outside when the sun is shining as there’s Wi-Fi out on the balconies. There’s a lovely spot under a sunshade overlooking the city and it’s a great spot to get inspired and be creative.
How does the space influence and inspire your work?
It’s a lovely office to come to and all of my colleagues are really lovely here and so I always look forward to coming into the office.
Instagram just celebrated its five year anniversary—what would you classify as its biggest achievement during this time?
The founders’ (Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger) concept when creating Instagram was to create a place where you could share moments, or share your everyday images—that was their goal from the start. But one of the amazing things that has come out of Instagram is that there’s been certain times where people have been able to share prominent world moments in real time—such as the uprisings in the Middle East and the refugee crisis—and I don’t think the creators thought about that impact initially, they just thought about sharing beautiful images. But the sharing of the most powerful images and global moments wasn’t anticipated.
That is something Instagram is very proud of. Instagram has also ticked over 400 million users on the app and within five years, that’s a huge growth.
How do you see Instagram evolving?
We’re always looking to bring in new features and new functionality, such as the current Hyperlapse and Layout feature, so this will keep evolving. We’re also doing a lot of work around search and explore to make the content much more searchable and easier to find. Instagram is very good at listening to what the community wants and the current feedback has been the want for greater search functionality. There’s such a richness of photos—70 million photos are posted to Instagram every day—so to be able to search through that content and find what you’re looking for is really key.