Brainly is an online Q&A platform which helps students do their homework and expand their knowledge. The idea behind the site is best rendered by its motto: SmarterTogether. No one knows everything, but everyone knows something. The company recently opened its new office in Kraków. Let’s take a look inside to find out what the company is like and feel the atmosphere of the site.
In 2009, the idea to create the website came to three friends: Michał Borkowski, Łukasz Haluch and Tomasz Kraus. After a year of operation, the site had about one million users in Poland. Today, the Brainly community has more than 100 million users in 35 countries around the world. The website is managed from three offices in New York, Barcelona and Kraków. In its home city Kraków, the company has an office space which is both a great place to work and a platform for communication with Brainly’s local branches.
At the end of 2018, Brainly moved its offices into a modern Class A office complex Zabłocie Business Park. On an area of approximately 1,500 m2, the company arranged a functional space consisting of four main areas of activity: administration, communication, concentration and regeneration.
Administration area was divided into smaller desk zones – work areas for individual teams. With wood and metal partition walls, the space is now more welcoming and user-friendly. Although the office is quite spacious, it provides intimacy and freedom of work. It is an example of a cleverly planned office divided into zones, based on the open-space concept.
Communication area consists of various meeting rooms, some designed for two people only and some for bigger, formal meetings. The auditorium is an important point on the map of the office, as it hosts regular video conferences with employees of the Kraków office and those working across the pond, in New York City.
Brainly’s office also supports concentrated work. Examples of zones in the concentration area include classic phone booths located throughout the office, but also small one-person rooms where you can comfortably make a phone call without disturbing other users of the open space.
Some of the most popular spaces in the office include a large kitchen and a social area. Strong emphasis was placed on finding a space for regeneration in the office. Just as the company builds a community of its website users, it also looks after its mini-community of employees. The central place in the kitchen, which is the heart of the office, is occupied by a large dining table which brings together people wishing to enjoy a meal together and regenerate. Spaces like that are increasingly popular in offices. It is here that the identity of the company is built and a sense of community among employees reinforced.
Community of users and moderators is the foundation of Brainly’s platform. To a large extent, they shape the looks of the site. Something similar can be noticed in Brainly’s office. It is not only a space with rows of desks, but a workplace for the organisation’s employee community. You can feel the characteristic atmosphere of openness and enthusiasm already during your first visit in the office. The atmosphere is created by employees, who come from virtually every corner the world: Poland, the UK, France as well as more exotic countries such as Indonesia, Mexico or Brazil.
Brainly is a global community whose users come from more than 35 countries. For this reason, it has to collaborate with people and partners from all over the world, working in different time zones. The office has been designed to respond to that need as best as possible. “It is made much easier thanks to the diverse spaces for meetings, both those held locally and remotely. One of the most important events in every week is a What’sup meeting, joined by all team members from all over the world. The biggest group is based in Kraków, which is why we needed a special space to hold these events here. Other than the meetings, the space may well serve as a creative work space or a relaxation area” says Arden Schneider, Chief People Officer at Brainly.
Space is very well used in Brainly’s office. After marking off internal traffic routes and major areas such as desk zones, meeting rooms and the kitchen, small spaces between them remained empty. They were filled with poufs and balls, and dry-erase boards were put on walls to arrange additional, separate mini team-work zones. People working at nearby desks can spontaneously meet with each other and write down key information on one of the boards.
Another important element of this space is the branding of meeting rooms, which shows the nature of the company. “The Central Park room is adjacent to the Planty room, and you can come across famous people there, such as Maria Skłodowska-Curie, Charles Darwin, Nikola Tesla and Ada Lovelace, who is considered to be the first programmer in the world. In this way, the company communicates its global reach, strong attachment to the city in which it was founded and where its key people work, and its mission, which is the sharing of knowledge” says Krzysztof Głut, the manager in charge of the Brainly project on behalf of the Nowy Styl Group.
The investor successfully adapted the latest office trends for his needs. The Kraków office has a unique character, inspired by New York offices in lofts and old, post-industrial buildings. It is emphasised by exposed technical ceilings, glazing with characteristic steel mullions and walls made from old brick and concrete.