Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Facebook’s Africa headquarters was recently custom-built and launched, with the social media mega-company now building a larger presence on the ground in Africa.
The site appears to be a fun place to work, with Facebook employees based out of Africa’s most industrialized economy enjoying the perks and peculiarities of the new office.
From a mothers’ room to numerous meeting rooms and a stunning balcony that overlooks the city, a glimpse of Facebook’s Africa offices makes one wish that their company would offer the same awesome facilities.
We take a look at 12 things you didn’t know about Facebook’s Africa headquarters.
Facebook’s new offices are located in Bryanston in Johannesburg, a suburb known for high-quality office space and business parks close to the Sandton area considered ‘Africa’s richest square mile’, where many global brands set up shop.
The Facebook Africa offices have been custom-designed and built according to what the brand needed in terms of resources and space for an expanding team. The few African staff that were based in South Africa previously worked from rented office space in Melrose Arch, but now they have a workplace to call their own, custom-built for their purposes and pleasure.
The building is full of local artwork from South Africans, in an effort to give the international company a local flavor. Cameron Platter, Hlengiwe Dube, and Lyndi Sales were the chosen South African artists whose work is featured throughout the building, part of a global Facebook program called Artists in Residence.
Numerous meeting rooms allow Facebook Africa staff to connect with their international colleagues, and in a tech business like this one, being able to communicate with other offices around the globe is a distinct advantage, especially considering that 17,000 people are employed by Facebook worldwide.
The African office of Facebook has a series of different tiered smartphones in a dedicated area, on which to test apps and services. The company wants to make sure the user experience is good for all users, no matter their smartphone.
Facebook employees are encouraged to rest and recuperate when at work, to get the most out of themselves, so there are a number of areas designed for this purpose, including a balcony that overlooks Bryanston, known as the “Friday chill out area”.
The new Facebook office in Johannesburg caters for moms returning to work, with a unique mother’s room that is designed to support moms and give them a place to call their own.
Facebook’s Johannesburg offices are open-plan in design, and no one at the company has their own private office. Even the Facebook Africa head has her desk among those of her co-workers. The company does not follow strict hierarchical structures, preferring to keep people approachable and things “fluid”.
In keeping with company policy worldwide, the South African Facebook offices have mobile workstations known as “hot desks”. These mobile workstations can be customized into standing or sitting desks, and are the same around the world, so a South African Facebook employee could walk into the London office, find somewhere to sit and get straight to work.
Employees at the South African office contributed to the office decor with their own ideas. One of those is a Baobab tree made from wood, engraved with greetings from all eleven official languages of South Africa, welcoming all who enter the office.
Another of the ideas that were implemented to localize the space was to give the various meeting and other rooms in the office names using iconic African words as the inspiration. It is for this reason that certain rooms are named Mielie Pap, Shongololo, Timbuktu, Qunu or Bollemakiesie.
While the office is now a three-story building, Facebook continues to be led by their Africa head, Nunu Ntshingila, who was with the company from its origins in Africa as a one-room operation in Melrose Arch, and remains the leader to take them forward.