Spaces are powerful storytellers, especially if the occupants are a sporty brand. Colorful themed meeting rooms, artificial turf floors, lots of images of sports heroes and a running track that runs around the office: welcome to the stadium. It is the new headquarters of Dream11, the flagship brand of Dream Sports, and India’s largest fantasy sports platform.
The company moved into space at the Bandra-Kurla complex in Mumbai in June. It follows a mostly in-person work model, where employees must work in the office four days a week and can choose to work from anywhere for one day a week.
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mint featured several sports-themed desks in this Office review series over the years. All are designed along similar lines to The Stadium, but the level of detail that has gone into the design of the Dream11 desk warrants closer examination. Designed in partnership with Space Matrix, a seasoned corporate interior design firm, the office exudes a sporty energy.
You enter the stadium through a turnstile, of course. Visitors can wait in a goal post at reception. Each of its 40 meeting rooms is based on an iconic sports team or sports-related organization. Graphic design doesn’t stop at conference tables or walls. In the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) board room, for example, some chairs have cricket bat backs and cushions inspired by the 1983 cricket team shirts.
The design of the desk is enough for any sports fan to breathe the sports experience, from all directions.
The designs are enough for any sports fan (or even a non-believer like me) to breathe in the sports experience, from all directions.
It is a dense workplace with deep floor patches. More than 700 employees are crammed into two large floors, but adequate natural light makes for a comfortable working environment, with as little or as much noise as one would expect in an open-plan office like Dream11’s.
Where are the priorities
As eye-catching as they are, none of these frills and frills are truly exceptional on their own. The most interesting object for me was a dull gray desk chair, something that could easily go unnoticed in this bustling setting. I recognized that it was a Herman Miller chair, one of the most reputable brands of office furniture in the world. Herman Miller Ergonomic Task Chairs Come at a Price ₹55,000 to 60,000 each.
A significant investment for Dream11, having purchased more than 1,000 chairs. Very few Indian companies, let alone a medium-sized company like Dream11, make an investment of this scale.
This suggests that the company took sport as a metaphor beyond branding and visual element, and translated it into individual well-being. Just as physical fitness is essential for athletes, “we believe that if we are at the peak of our physical condition, we can also perform at our best,” says co-founder Bhavit Sheth.
According to Kevin Freitas, director of human resources, the decision to invest in ergonomic furniture was based on data and common sense, to bring comfort to hundreds of employees working more than eight hours a day. The chairs also come with a 10-year warranty, which proves to be a good long-term investment, he says. “And by design, we want those little things to be inserted in such a way that people don’t feel like we’re doing them a favor, we’re not advertising the brand, we just want them to do it. experience,” he said. .
Tangible well-being at work is complemented by HR policies supporting intangible benefits at work and at home. For example, the company offers “proximity benefits with The Stadium”, which involve subsidized rents of up to 67% if you live within 30 minutes of the head office. “It’s to improve the balance between work and private life. The goal is that not only will people feel a strong sense of well-being at work, but the policies that support where you live are also focused on that,” says Freitas. This policy tends to be popular among new recruits, many of whom come from out of town and are not tied to a location in Mumbai.
It’s the space between us
Individual well-being at work is also enhanced by providing the one feature most employees seek in an open-plan office: space for private work.
The office is dotted with quiet corners for one-on-one calls or 1:1 chats, which weren’t available in the company’s previous space, say Paresh Parmar, software development engineer, and Priyanka M., software engineer. security at Dream11.
Who is the champ?
Predictably, the sports metaphor also extends to team performances, in tangible and intangible ways. “Sport gives a lot of lessons in everyday life and in management. We want to integrate sport into our very culture, into our way of thinking. We tell people that when they run into trouble, when they hit a wall, they need to think about what a top sports team would do if they were in a similar situation,” Sheth says. The organizational hierarchy reflects the state of mind. “We don’t call anyone the leader or the boss. We call them captains. CXOs are called coaches. We want our team’s thought process to be as integrated as it is in a sports team,” he says.
Teams need space to perform and those needs have been met in two ways. First, informal collaboration spaces have been created between groups of teams where members can come together, without needing to book a meeting room. These also serve as noise buffers.
Second, one of the most insightful design features is the size of meeting rooms. “The size of the meeting rooms is greater than the number of meeting rooms. As you grow into a larger organization, your teams also become larger. So you need bigger spaces,” emphasizes Freitas. The company has up to four large conference rooms that can be transformed into war rooms.
Still early, but the Dream11 workplace is a good reminder for creative companies to look beyond exciting graphics and visuals, and insert their brand considerations into the work culture in a thoughtful way, ideally to promote individual and collective well-being at work.
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