This quirky office is employees' second home

PHOTO: This quirky office is employees' second home

The lift to the kwerkee office is a very dark one as if someone had forgotten to install lights in it.

But it is a different story when the lift door opens. The office, which houses about 12 staff, is a bright yet cosy place, and it almost feels like being at someone's home.

kwerkee, which started about four months ago, is a subsidiary of Reebonz, a discount website.

Fitting in - kwerkee
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Unlike Reebonz which focuses on designer brands, kwerkee sells lifestyle and homeware items, quirky ones, of course.

Both offices are on separate floors of a building at Tai Seng Street.

kwerkee's creative director Zaidah Mohd was tasked with doing up the interior space.

The office space was previously used by a shoe company and had the traditional office look, with cubicles and many walls.

"It was not a big office, so the walls made the space feel even smaller," says Ms Zaidah.

Since the staff would be spending a lot of time at the office, Ms Zaidah wanted to make the office feel like a second home. In fact, she modelled the office after her own home, which has a Scandinavian look.

Gone is the old office's carpet, which was replaced by white timber flooring. The cubicles and walls were also removed. A brick wall was built at the end of the office to create a feature wall, where the company logo is put up.

The staff sit in two rows facing each other, there are no partitions and everyone can see each other. "I had to fit in as many staff as possible, and this layout worked best," says Ms Zaidah.

When clients come for meetings, they don't head to the conference room. Instead, they can take their pick from two casual meeting areas, which also double as relaxation points for the staff.

One is in the centre of the office, filled with vintage furniture, such as a coffee table, single seater chairs and a sofa that Ms Zaidah shopped for, from places such as like that one at Bukit Batok and Second Charm at Kallang Avenue.

She has similar pieces at home too. A tight budget of $7,000 for furnishings including the office tables left Ms Zaidah with little to deck out the second meeting area. So she did what clever homeowners do - shop at Ikea for the furniture.

Along the way, she found three stools at the void deck of her home which someone had thrown out. She gave them a fresh coat of paint and they look almost like new.

"Rather than spend money buying decorative items for the office, all the staff contributed something from their own collection," says Ms Zaidah.

She also found new use for a pillar in the office - as a message board for staff. "We write messages for each other, or jot down ways to improve on kwerkee," says Ms Zaidah.

It is not just her colleagues and boss who have given their thumbs up for her effort. "Even the staff on the other floors are jealous that we have such a cosy office," she says.