Office Envy

Make yourself at home at property app Domain’s Sydney HQ, where video games and a rooftop BBQ are all part of the furniture

How do you keep staff from working from home? Make their office more appealing than any apartment.

That's the thinking behind Australian property platform Domain's headquarters Sydney. And what's an Aussie home without a BBQ on the terrace?

Drawing inspiration from its database of more than 250,000 properties — from coastal condos to rural ranches — every weekday Domain welcomes its more than 400 employees with coffee, cozy meeting spaces and an entertainment suite for break time.

"We really wanted to make sure that we tapped into a lot of the beautiful properties that we showcase on our website and in our app every single week," Sarah Myers, Domain's group marketing director, told CNBC Make It.

Domain's headquarters at 55 Pyrmont Street, Sydney, Australia
Domain
Domain's headquarters at 55 Pyrmont Street, Sydney, Australia

Located at 55 Pyrmont Street, Domain's 75,000 square foot office sits within an 1890s heritage-listed woolshed, which it shares with co-working offices WeWork.

It's one of several notable companies to have set up shop in the former industrial district of Pyrmont, having moved out of the offices it shared with parent company Fairfax Media in 2016 following a period of rapid expansion. Domain's neighbors include tech and media giants Google and Seven Network, as well as the nearby Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Spread across three levels, Domain has full occupancy of the building's top floor, which sits beneath a south-facing sawtooth roof designed to make the most of the Australian sunshine.

Domain's headquarters at 55 Pyrmont Street, Sydney, Australia
Domain
Domain's headquarters at 55 Pyrmont Street, Sydney, Australia

The space features an open-plan kitchen and media zone, which is used for hosting conferences with the company's nearly 300 other employees nationwide. It spills out onto a roof deck and a quintessentially Aussie BBQ, affectionately termed by Myers as a "sausage sizzler."

Meanwhile, the lower levels feature a games area, plant courtyard and events space.

The office's workspaces are laid out across all three floors, with every employee, including the CEO, allocated a permanent desk in the open-plan spaces.

Each level also features a selection of sofa areas, known as "bump zones," for quick meetings. More formal meeting rooms are inspired by Sydney's iconic public spaces, from Bondi Beach to the Botanic Gardens.

Domain's headquarters at 55 Pyrmont Street, Sydney, Australia
Domain
Domain's headquarters at 55 Pyrmont Street, Sydney, Australia

The design is all part of the company's aims to encourage a collaborative working environment that also reflects the real estate business.

"In Australia, we're all obsessed with property – it's the national conversation. So we wanted to make sure in designing this office space that we really made it feel like a premium and homely environment. We've got lots of beautiful furniture here to make you really feel at home."

"It's not necessarily about free popcorn and gimmicky pieces like that. It really is about a premium, beautiful workspace," Myers added.

Domain's headquarters at 55 Pyrmont Street, Sydney, Australia
Domain
Domain's headquarters at 55 Pyrmont Street, Sydney, Australia

Recent years have marked a general shift in the methods used by companies to motivate employees. Increasingly, companies are turning their backs on novel freebies in exchange for more sophisticated workspaces.

"We're seeing a greater focus on experience and design," said Domino Risch, a principal at international architecture firm Hassell, told CNBC.

Risch, who is based in Sydney and specializes in office design, said that's especially true for firms looking to attract millennials, who increasingly place as much emphasis on work-life balance as they do traditional compensation.

"Companies want to show their staff that by coming into the office they can be happier and healthier than if they weren't there," Risch added.

—CNBC's Uptin Saiidi contributed to this report.

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