Appliances Online's Workspace: An Open Plan Office With Lots Of Toilets

Appliances Online is one of Australia's largest kitchen and laundry specialists with more than 500 employees spread across Winnings Group. Its sprawling NSW headquarters covers every aspect of the business, from online orders and customer support to website development and video production. The building also has an inordinate amount of toilets. This photo tour takes a look at the company's unusual facilities.

Earlier in the week, we visited Appliances Online's Redfern-based HQ to see how the business operates. As one of Australia's oldest family-run businesses, its parent company places a lot of emphasis on closely-knit staff members, even among departments that have little day-to-day dealings with each other. The building's 200-strong workforce is divided into "houses" which are chosen randomly. In addition to strengthening workplace bonds, this also allows employees to learn about other areas of the business.

Instead of keeping a scrapbook, Winning keeps its media clippings on the wall.

The open plan office has been carefully mapped out to streamline productivity: business departments that regularly interact are placed side-by-side to avoid unnecessary strolling.

Support staff are armed with an exhaustive database of product information which covers every conceivable question a customer could ask. (Well, almost every question. Apparently, someone once rang up to inquire about the best pizzeria in their area. They answered him anyway.)

To encourage a friendly and approachable atmosphere, Winning's upper management sit at regular open floor desks, just like everyone else. (The only enclosed office belongs to payroll.) Pictured here is CEO John Winning.

Appliances Online's HQ has a pro-standing desk policy. So far, there has only been one taker.

We also spotted a few exercise balls. You've got to love an inclusive workforce that embraces all types of sitters.

Each desk divider is emblazoned with the company's core mission statement. On the plus side, staff members are free to cover this up with photos, posters and knickknacks.

The IT department has a lot of computers to keep track of. These wall mounted LED displays are used to monitor Game Of Thrones office downloads. Probably.

The building includes its own video production team and studio as well as full-time bloggers. Unlike most of its competitors, Appliances Online does not employ freelancers: all website content is produced in-house.

One advantage of working for a leading cookware specialist is a decent office kitchen.

Appliances Online runs its own website analytics to assess what customers are clicking on and why.

The web team has a legion of mobile devices on hand to test website updates on.

The server room. Originally, the company wanted to add smoke machines for aesthetic purposes, but IT management wisely advised against it.

The Appliances Online building also contains a vast array of kitchen and laundry ware so that staff can familiarise themselves with the product range.

We suspect these bathtubs present an irresistible temptation for mischief; especially after a few end-of-shift beers.

Ditto with the toilets. (We'd hate to be the cleaning staff the morning after a raucous work Christmas party.)

There's a big focus on food at Appliances Online's HQ — employees are often supplied with free meals and the company holds regular cooking days where staff are invited to test new cookware.

With more than 200 on-site staff to entertaining, Appliances Online's rec room is enormous and includes an assortment of distractions, including a foosball table, two ping pong tables and a pool table. Staff table tennis tournaments can get quite heated.

The company's "house" events tend to skew towards quirky and fun: here's a pic from a recent "spooky dress-up" day.


    I HATE open planned offices.

      Agreed. I'd always feel like someone is looking over my shoulder, which reduces my productivity.

    Good to see Australian companies trying to provide such a good, positive work environment like this

    The building’s 200-strong workforce is divided into “houses” which are chosen randomly. In addition to strengthening workplace bonds, this also allows employees to learn about other areas of the business.
    I can tell you this is not the case. The Houses are used for getting a bunch of people together to create and manage company events etc, but theres no real knowledge sharing done with the creation of these "Houses", and strengthning bonds is definately not what happens.

    Did they mention the massive culling of management and other staff they did last year, just before Christmas 2013? No? Family business my arse. They are just a regular business that is family owned, but they wont treat you like a family member thats for sure.

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