Breezy California vibe at Facebook Singapore

Clockwise from above: A small gaming area, the open-air patio, a meeting area with an actual Facebook wall on which visitors can scribble messages, and graffiti on the wall of a pantry.
A small gaming area (above), the open-air patio, a meeting area with an actual Facebook wall on which visitors can scribble messages, and graffiti on the wall of a pantry.PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Clockwise from above: A small gaming area, the open-air patio, a meeting area with an actual Facebook wall on which visitors can scribble messages, and graffiti on the wall of a pantry.
A small gaming area, the open-air patio (above), a meeting area with an actual Facebook wall on which visitors can scribble messages, and graffiti on the wall of a pantry.PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Clockwise from above: A small gaming area, the open-air patio, a meeting area with an actual Facebook wall on which visitors can scribble messages, and graffiti on the wall of a pantry.
A small gaming area, the open-air patio, a meeting area with an actual Facebook wall on which visitors can scribble messages (above), and graffiti on the wall of a pantry.PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Clockwise from above: A small gaming area, the open-air patio, a meeting area with an actual Facebook wall on which visitors can scribble messages, and graffiti on the wall of a pantry.
A small gaming area, the open-air patio, a meeting area with an actual Facebook wall on which visitors can scribble messages, and graffiti on the wall of a pantry (above).PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Meeting area outside a pantry at Facebook Singapore.
Meeting area outside a pantry at Facebook Singapore.PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
The pantry at Facebook - this one stores alcohol and has a fresh breakfast bar where pastries and bread are served every morning.
The pantry at Facebook - this one stores alcohol and has a fresh breakfast bar where pastries and bread are served every morning. PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
An actual Facebook wall, where visitors are encouraged to scribble and leave a message on.
An actual Facebook wall, where visitors are encouraged to scribble and leave a message on.PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
One of the many small informal meeting spaces at Facebook Singapore.
One of the many small informal meeting spaces at Facebook Singapore.PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Foosball table at Facebook Singapore.
Foosball table at Facebook Singapore.PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Facebook may be closing in on the 1.5 billion mark in the number of active users, but only a privileged few - relatively speaking - get to work in an office designed to keep workers happy and creative.

The company sifts through 400 profiles just for one hire.

Enter its Singapore offices in Cecil Street, and the United States West Coast vibe of its heritage is apparent. The design reflects the open, breezy concept of its headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

Work spaces are cosy without being cramped, and recreational spaces are found across all four floors.

All new hires, once issued their work passes and computers, get their peripherals - keyboard, headphones or mouse - from a vending machine. All they have to do is swipe their staff card, select what they need and the item pops out.

CLIMATE FOR COLLABORATION

It's less about how do I give somebody free drinks and more about how do I create an environment for people to collaborate and share ideas, which is what we're trying to establish.

MR DAN NEARY, vice-president for the Asia-Pacific, on perks for employees

There are meeting rooms of all sizes, all equipped with telescreens for quick and easy teleconferencing.

There is an open-air patio with couches and a lone hammock.

Had a heavy lunch? Hit a button and your desk will rise so that you can work while standing. Every desk is adjustable, so there is no excuse for hunching over your computer.

There are pantries on every floor, stocked with potato chips, instant noodles and a variety of nuts and cereal. The fridges are filled with bottled water, soft drinks, milk and fruit juices. And there is the requisite espresso machine.

Pantry caterers change every few months, depending on staff requests. When The Straits Times visited last week, pastries and puffs from Paris Baguette were the breakfast of choice. Employees in Singapore do not enjoy the free lunches served to their colleagues in the US, but the fridges here are packed with frozen soups and sandwiches.

All this, explains Mr Dan Neary, Facebook's vice-president for the Asia-Pacific, is not just about throwing benefits at staff. Rather, it's to create an environment in which Facebookers can collaborate and share ideas comfortably and openly.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 15, 2015, with the headline 'Breezy California vibe at Facebook S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe