Bubble tea, helping elephants, a herb garden. Oh, so millennial generation. Don’t roll your eyes, though – the research is clear that a happy office is a solid foundation for a high-performing work culture.
There’s a lot more than work happening at the Sydney headquarters of graphic design software company Canva. The Surry Hills office is a hotbed of shared passions – from kite surfing to karaoke, bubble tea to board games, and even preparing for the apocalypse.
Among the 130-strong staff, no less than 88 special interest clubs thrive, fostering an atmosphere that’s earned Canva multiple awards for its positive culture.
The clubs, facilitated by a dedicated vibe team charged with nurturing the company’s feel-good factor, are complemented by a rock climbing wall, overseas trips with colleagues, a lovable office dog called Biscuit and the latest (and possibly greatest) – an onsite brewery.
“We’ve taken Friday night drinks to the next level by enabling the team to brew their own,” laughs staffer Chris Low, who looks after vibe. But, he adds, Canva is serious about engaging its workforce. “The clubs are a really great way to empower our staff to be involved in activities that relate to their lives rather than their roles at work,” he says. “It gives a sense of community, and people can connect outside of their teams.”
Canva’s enlightened approach typifies a growing recognition among employers that their teams seek – and expect – to be happy at work. In a 2014 global study by Boston Consulting Group, good relationships with colleagues emerged as the number two factor for happiness on the job with being appreciated in the top slot and remuneration languishing at number eight.