Office Envy

Take a trip to Airbnb's Singapore HQ, where staff can holiday during meetings and lunch is always free

Property platform Airbnb has come a long way since it was started out of an apartment in San Francisco in 2008.

But despite scaling up to a team of more than 3,100 employees worldwide, those homely roots are still a part of the business today.

Just take its Singapore headquarters as an example.

Situated in the middle of the city-state's central business district, the office has been designed to make its more than 200 staff feel at home while connecting them with the core business: As with its 19 other global offices, Airbnb's Singapore hub draws inspiration from the platform's more than 4.5 million property listings.

Airbnb's Singapore office
Airbnb
Airbnb's Singapore office

Each of the building's three floors are comprised of so-called "neighborhoods," defined by desk clusters housing different departments, from operations to marketing.

Like more traditional offices, the layout is designed to make it easy for staff to locate various areas of the business. However, employees aren't obliged to stay in their home neighborhood. In fact, they're encouraged to travel around the office and "hot desk" alongside other job functions.

Airbnb's Singapore office
Airbnb
Airbnb's Singapore office

The idea is to encourage collaboration across different areas of the business, Robin Kwok, Airbnb's country manager for Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, told CNBC Make It during a tour of the Singapore office.

The travel theme continues in the meeting rooms, which hug the outskirts of the neighborhoods.

Airbnb's Singapore office
Airbnb
Airbnb's Singapore office

Staff can enjoy a morning meeting in Bangkok before jetting off for a coffee break in Cappadocia in the custom-designed spaces named after a selection of the 81,000 cities in Airbnb's database.

Some are themed around the general location and feature local memorabilia. Others are exact replicas of actual listings, co-designed by the original property owners.

When staff aren't hard at work, they can choose to relax at one of the office's two kitchens.

Airbnb's Singapore office
Airbnb
Airbnb's Singapore office

On the top floor, the kitchen is styled like a vintage kopitiam — the local term for a coffee shop — and houses a range of free food, including chocolate and a salad bar. Elsewhere, on the ground floor kitchen, a free daily lunch is prepared by the food team as another way to encourage staff to hang out together.

"At Airbnb we have lunch and breakfast catered for us every single day because we want to enjoy good food over great conversations," said Kwok.

For those looking for an energy hit, there's also a coffee bar where aficionados can teach other colleagues to pour a great cup of joe during regular "latte art classes."

Airbnb's Singapore office
Airbnb
Airbnb's Singapore office

Further communal spots, including a tiered seating area and a terrace, make the most of the building's 29,461 square-foot space.

They're big enough to fit the entire team for company-wide briefings and dial-ins with the other international offices, as well as events such as games nights.

"This (outdoor patio) is one of my favorite places, it's where we host a bunch of events. We often have karaoke nights and BBQs," said Kwok.

—CNBC's Uptin Saiidi contributed to this report.

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