Millennials at work

Millennials at work


When you work at online cashback rewards site ShopBack, you do not have to worry about wearing proper office attire or checking your social media channels during working hours.

However, there is one piece of advice that every millennial employee at the company will give you: Do not arrive at work later than 9.15am.

Latecomers will find their names entered into a pool, from which three names are drawn every month. Their punishment? Foot the bill for Starbucks coffee for the entire company.

The "Starbucks Lucky Draw" policy has helped "encourage" everyone in the team of more than 50 to get to work on time every day.

ShopBack, which gives shoppers a portion of their online spending back when they shop through the portal on sites such as fashion e-tailer Zalora and online grocer RedMart, was started by six founders under 30 years old in September 2014.

For the youngest of them, Ms Samantha Soh, 23, enforcing the punctuality rule has been an important way to build team spirit. The user interface designer, who is single, worked at Rocket Internet, a company that builds and invests in Internet companies, before leaving to start ShopBack in 2014.

"Team bonding doesn't just happen because a bunch of millennials work together," she says. "There needs to be guidelines in place to ensure team members can interact with one another."

Still, it does not hurt that the company's 2,000 sq ft office space in Ayer Rajah has a cool start-up vibe - an open-plan working area that merges seamlessly into comfortable lounging areas, complete with bean bags, a ping-pong table and a variety of snacks and drinks.

Its millennial employees enjoy working in the office so much that the company has "shopcations" - particularly busy periods when staff opt to stay overnight at the office rather than go home.

Its Singapore country manager, Ms Josephine Chow, 28, who is single and also worked at Rocket Internet previously, says a cosy workplace allows for happier and more productive employees.

She says: "Given how much time we spend in the office, it's not absurd that millennials expect a nurturing, dynamic and fun work environment.

"In this day and age, the onus is on managers and companies to provide those for them.


Working for Deliveroo, Mr Tristan Torres Velat has on many occasions driven a motorbike to deliver food.

Every Friday, he also dons a full Kangaroo suit - the "Roo" in Deliveroo - to hand out fliers in the Central Business District under the noon sun.

It may be hard to imagine, but he is the general manager of the Singapore branch of the British- based food delivery firm Deliveroo.

The 36-year-old oversees about 50 staff who are about 24 years old on average. His team includes marketing and branding managers, a customer service team and more than 1,000 delivery drivers.

The self-confessed "crazy Spaniard" believes in a radically flattened workplace hierarchy.

He does not have a separate office and, instead, constantly rotates where he sits among his team at their shophouse space in Tanjong Pagar so that he can talk to them informally.

He also provides a team lunch every Friday and refuses to let anyone call him boss.

"I have it written above my bathroom mirror that happy employees equal happy customers," says the former private banker who is married with three children.

"Having a young team means dedicating nearly 60 per cent of my time to people management. But that is a small price to pay to have people who are dynamic, creative and ready to try new things."

Launched in Singapore six months ago, Deliveroo delivers food from more than 900 restaurants such as P.S. Cafe, Wild Honey and the Paradise Dynasty group.

Whenever it partners a new eatery, Mr Velat handles the first delivery himself.

Account manager Melanie Tan, 24, who was one of the company's first hires, says: "Tristan leads by example and that has made me feel more invested in the company."

Business development manager Adam Sanusi, 25, agrees. "Getting the opportunity to do things shoulder to shoulder with my team - both peers and superiors - is the best part for me."

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