Facebook Africa’s cool office space
It has been two years since Facebook Africa head Nunu Ntshingila first opened the social-media website’s Africa outpost in Johannesburg as a small operation in a one-room office.
But fast-forward to 2017 with a 42% growth to more than 170 million monthly African Facebook users, and Ntshingila is now welcoming City Press to Facebook’s brand-new, three-storey headquarters in Bryanston.
“It is a big moment for us,” says Ntshingila. “I can’t believe that we’ve finally got here. We have worked really hard, so I feel extremely proud to be standing here with you.”
Ntshingila takes City Press on a tour, starting in a room of employees working at “hot desks” – mobile workstations that can be customised into standing or sitting desks. They are an important part of Facebook’s corporate philosophy.
“I will literally walk into the Dublin office, find somewhere to sit and get working,” explains Ntshingila. “It is a very mobile environment.” Around the central space are meeting rooms, each with an African name such as Timbuktu, Qunu or Bollemakiesie, where local staff interact with their global counterparts around the world – numbering 17 000 in total.
“The structural design of the office is the same worldwide. You see the exposed brick walls, concrete and open ceilings, but in every market they use locally sourced culture pieces to recognise the market they are in,” Ntshingila says.
“We worked with local design firms and artists to create the space – for instance, our cool braai area – and used artwork such as Lyndi Sales’ installation, which represents our culture of innovation and reflects our mission of connectivity, openness and sharing.”
Is Facebook Africa on par with offices in the rest of the world? “At this level we have a good deal! I’ve seen a lot of them, and we compare really well.”