Better Workplaces - Feeling homely at We are Social’s residential-inspired office

Ashley Regan
By Ashley Regan | 30 June 2023
We are Social's office.

 Employee preferences for WFH means workplaces need to utilise office spaces as a tool to connect with staff. In Better Workplaces, AdNews looks at how agencies use office design to entice staff to come in and create a company culture worth staying for.

Socially-led creative agency We are Social transformed a three-storey 1916 brick chocolate factory into a collaborative, creative hub for its 60 staff.

Just off Abercrombie Street in Sydney's Chippendale, the office was designed by Siren Design in 2019 and features a wide-open layout, high ceilings and an array of casual working areas.

outside building

Outside the building.

stairs of three level office

Entrance looking up at the three-storey office.

In fact, the office was intentionally inspired by residential designs, Alice Coulthard, We are Social general manager, told AdNews

Even the staff’s dogs feel at home, as there’s always a couple wandering around and getting all the cuddles, as you can see from the agency’s TikTok page.

“We have created touchdown areas that feel like living rooms, with furnishings that are residential in aesthetic - which seems to be our team’s favourite areas to work, and where the best ideas flourish,” Coulthard said.

casual seating area with branding in back

Agency branding in casual seating area.

Despite the office having a seat for all the agency’s 60 staff, seating arrangements are flexible to encourage staff to collaborate, learn and communicate with each other in a relaxed and informal way. 

“As we work from the office 3 or more days a week, people are encouraged to sit wherever they like - either at their desks, next to the colleagues they are collaborating with, or have some quiet time at one of our standing desks or couch spaces,” Coulthard said.

“Not every conversation needs to be a meeting, and our space aims to facilitate casual conversations and catch-ups so we can help our clients solve problems faster and more effectively with ideas that get people talking.”

staff desks

More casual seating, just in front of the formal staff desks.

The multi-functional town hall area is where most of the informal catch-ups, all-agency training, company meetings, and of course, lunch and afternoon drinks occur.

Most people bring their laptop and work from the banquette, enjoying the informal set-up, which is exactly what the space was designed for to encourage connection and fuel culture.

“Every morning, in our daily Newsroom meeting, our editorial team of 12 occupies the couches area and discusses what’s trending in Australia over coffee. This informal setting is where they come up with content and campaign ideas to insert our clients into trending conversations and help them capture the cultural zeitgeist,” Coulthard said.


Casual couches for work in 'the town hall area'.

Just behind the couch, features one of many different-sized meeting rooms that make it easy to spread out and accommodate the agency’s evolving working styles. The agency has even given a nod to the building’s sweet heritage with the names of the meeting rooms - Cherry Ripe, Old Gold, Freddo and Caramello to name a few. 

more casual

The other side of the town hall area.

The town hall area also features a mega screen constantly showcasing top stories and trending creators.

“Not only is it a great conversation starter over lunch, but most importantly an input that allows us to create culturally-relevant work for our clients, based on the latest trends," Coulthard said.

"As we are all entertainment junkies, we gather around it to watch the biggest global events live, from the Oscars to the Superbowl, which conveniently happen around lunchtime."

staff enjoying free lunch in kitchen

We are Social always host Wednesday Wellness with a salad bar and offer a free healthy meal for everyone to enjoy in the town hall area over a chat.

more branding

Inspired by the agency's belief powerful ideas ignite conversations the vibrant Ideas Worth Talking About mural, crafted by artist Luke Lucas, stands proudly in the middle of the office.

"It serves as a constant inspiration, urging us to come together to craft work that sparks genuine connections between brands and individuals," Coulthard said.

"We strive to steer clear of mundane digital clutter, and instead, create meaningful experiences that leave a lasting impact for the brands we work with, and are career-defining for our team."

in-house production studio

The We Are Social Studios also sets the agency apart from many.

"Thanks to our in-house space and resources - photographers, videographers, illustrators, animators and editors - we are able to work nimbly and quickly to produce content that is made for social, at the speed of the internet," Coulthard said.

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