Lounging by a window overlooking the water, taking a yoga class or playing video games and ping pong sound like the stuff of vacation. Yet they are also just a few of the daily options open to those fortunate enough to work in the growing number of sleek A-grade offices. As we examined earlier this month, the consistently rising popularity and near 100% occupancy rates of these premium workspaces is the bright light amid the beleaguered office sector. Now the competition is heating up between corporations, landlords and architects to create the most advanced workspaces that offer unmatched comfort, style and amenity.

Truly unique

These days it takes a lot more than designer furniture, natural light, fresh air and greenery to create a cutting-edge office. Just ask the tech titans recognised as those who do it best. Software giant Atlassian was one of the first to offer a truly unique place to work when it unveiled its current George Street premises. The space evokes both calm and creativity via an abundance of plants flourishing along ceilings and walls and draping down into corridors. Working areas are not only open plan but filled with furniture on wheels so staff can move freely to adapt and collaborate as easily and efficiently as possible. Spaces for private meetings and phone calls are provided by a number of compact futuristic-looking soundproof pods dotted around the floors.

Then there are the perks: hungry Atlassian workers need only venture to the company kitchen which is generously stocked with an array of goodies befitting a hotel buffet. Everything from breakfast cereal to hot meals, snacks, fruit and ice-cream is laid on, and when happy hour comes around there is no bar fridge but a full-scale bar. Atlassian will to up its workplace game considerably when the company moves into its new $1.4 billion, 39-storey hybrid timber tower underway near Sydney’s Central Station.
Scheduled for completion in 2027, the firm’s co-founder Scott Farquhar is a big believer in the offices’ role within the hybrid work world. “Not everyone wants to work in their own living room or bedroom,” he says. “[Secondly] you need to get people together on a regular basis to build human bonds.”

Build it and they will come

Super success story Canva is blazing as big a trail in the office world as it is in creating easy-to-use graphic design. The company is world renowned for cool workplaces fitted with latest tech, in-house chefs who prepare breakfast and lunch for staff and a much-loved dog-friendly policy.  Despite the bulk of staff now attending the office only once or twice a week, the tech unicorn is forging ahead with plans to move from its current award-winning Surry Hills, Sydney headquarters in 2026 and into a nearby new commercial office build that is shaping up to be one of the city’s most impressive.

Canva executives say they have listened to their staff and are giving them what they want: aside from sleek offices, the new digs will offer a full-size gym, yoga studio, and dedicated areas for meditation and fitness classes. There is even the possibility Canva will find a way to install in-house ice baths, as cold-water immersion is so popular among staff that the dedicated have formed their own club. Ice baths will not be the only novelty if they appear in the new build: Canva is also looking to breed shellfish and aquatic plants alongside the roof-top garden from where in-house chefs (employees are already catered to by private chefs) will be sourcing their produce. The green roof will of course serve the dual purpose of generating green energy.

Canva has long been big on health and wellness programs as well as fostering social connections. A particularly popular move has been introducing a range of in-house clubs catering to interests as diverse as Dungeons Dragons and tennis.

Company feedback about what staff like to do best when they come to work has led Canva to dedicating significantly more space in the new building for team bonding, brainstorming, goal-planning workshops and celebrations alike. And the macro plan extends beyond company walls to neighbouring blocks where executives can see the potential for developing laneway-style restaurants, cafes and bars. 

Other tech firms are proving themselves equally adventurous. Tradie tech company Hipages follows the home away from home vibe at its Sydney CBD premises with offices that look like lounge rooms, a rumpus room with table tennis, board games and more, and an outdoor patio screened for privacy with more lounges, deck chairs and yoga mats. Software company Qualtrics Australia  Qualtrics XM // The Leading Experience Management Software  keeps its staff happy and active with a mini golf putting green, treadmills equipped with standing desks, and lounges overlooking the city.

Winning moves

The largesse of tech titans and others like them appears to be paying off: a new survey from HR tech platform HiBob HRIS | HiBob found an overwhelming 96% of tech workers aged between 20 and 30 years of age were satisfied with their jobs. HiBob vice president Damien Andreasen says a large part of the reason is simply the “cutting edge” worker benefits for which tech companies have become renown. “I think the thing to remember about tech industries is it’s almost kind of very progressive in terms of workplace culture,” he says. “We’re the first adopters in terms of hybrid work and remote work and lunchtime in the office that is sponsored and learning development grants.”