Here's how listening to his staff helped Ruslan Kogan make his office more fun, productive and attractive

What makes employees happy? Giving them what they want.

This is the simple principle Ruslan Kogan follows to attract the best employees, keep them happy and watch them become more productive, so it made sense for him to design their new office in South Melbourne centred around their wants and needs.

“This office is completely different to our previous offices,” says Kogan, an entrepreneur, online retailing pioneer and founder/CEO of Kogan.com.

“Before, it was about fitting into the space available, whereas now we started with a clean slate, and it was a full fit-out made to fit based on how we work.

“A lot of the inspiration came from our staff. We asked them what they wanted.”

“For some it was about having a funky carpet, while another (the oldest member of the team) said he wanted an Addams Family pinball machine, like the one he had played as a kid.

And it’s not just one pinball machine – there’s an entire games room with more pinnies, arcade machines and table tennis.

It also has a huge kitchen provided with cereal, fruit and vege (“anything we want to make for breakfast or lunch”), a coffee machine, open-floor plan, plants, flooding light and standing-desks and areas for quick meetings.

And the staff?

“They’re loving it,” said Kogan. “It’s a cool fun place while we work hard and play harder.

“We want to have happy staff and have all tools and facilities for them to be productive and enjoy themselves, so we have free food and snacks to various entertainment options.

“The staff are happy because it’s unlike anywhere else.

“We’ve got a pretty open door policy in office where we constantly survey staff to make sure they are happy.”

He said business is about getting a win-win relationship between the company and the employee.

“If we build a company where staff enjoy getting out of bed and coming to work then we’ll attract better staff and be more productive, which will make customers happier, and they’ll be inventing new and better creative things.”

While Kogan wouldn’t reveal how much the 150-employee office cost him, or how much the cost of the renovations were, he said it was a worthwhile investment.

“We know that if we invest in our team, and make them our top priority, they will do incredible work and help create a great shopping experience for 23 million Australians,” he said.

“You’ve got to look after most important asset in business, and for us our staff is the most important asset.”

Not only does it make the employees excited about coming to work, but it also promotes team bonding.

After being split over two offices in the past because of rapid staff scaling and a three-year lease, Kogan said his favourite part of the new office was that it encouraged mingling.

“We can have a senior marketing manager playing game of table tennis with one of the call centre staff,” he said. “It’s great.”

Here’s the full look at the office.

The mammoth office houses 150 employees.

With its geometric coloured carpet...

And open, spacious floorplan...

There's lots of room for activities.

Their creative thoughts are literally written on the walls for all to see and collaborate with.

Kogan said he looks for employees willing to do the research to solve a problem rather than those with a specific skill set, or degree.

The meeting rooms have sweeping views of the city's skyline...

While the kitchen has choices galore.

There's table tennis...

And old-school arcade games...

Kogan said the staff love it.

Now here's a quick run through of the entire office.

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