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#interview

The Kiwi.com receptionists: What makes them mad? And why don’t visitors want to be photographed at the reception?

Article July 1, 2018  |  Text by Nina Černá Text by Nina Černá

Kiwi.com is one of the most go-getting startups not only in the Czech Republic, but also within the European “pond.” In autumn of 2016, this company moved out of an art-nouveau villa into modern offices at Campus Science Park. When you come to visit it, Katka and Šárka are among the first to greet you.

What’s the first thing you do when you arrive at work?

Katka: I generally get mad that somebody’s “returned” some entry cards, keys, or other important things to the reception desk, despite the red-lettered sign saying they should leave these things in the boxes by their desks... and then I make myself coffee!

Šárka: The reception opens at eight, but the language teacher is here waiting impatiently for me at seven-thirty. She comes to borrow an entry card so that she can start her English lesson.

Do you have an idea of how many people go past your reception each day?

Š: Honestly? No! There’s such a bunch of people here that even though we try to be aware of everything, we really can’t count every person. But just out of interest we could try it sometime, what do you think, Katka?

K: Umm...

Katka, the receptionist from Kiwi.com

The kiwi.com airline ticket finder is built on high technology. Does that show through here at the reception? Do you have any smart devices here?

Š: Here at the reception, visitors encounter an iPad where we’ve got the Proxyclick app installed; each visitor enters their name and the person they’re visiting, who then automatically receives a notification that their visitor is here. And to tell the truth, the people from “outside” are mostly happy with it.

K: They’re usually only happy until the app tells them to let it take their picture.

Š: Hey, some of them don’t mind that at all...  

Kiwi.com provides airline tickets. Do you ever get people calling the reception to try to book a flight?

Š: No, but from time to time people do that in person. And boy, that’s something you don’t want to miss...

K: It happened to me for the first time when I’d only been working here for a few weeks, and what’s more, it was one of those rare moments when I was alone. A married couple came, leaned onto our desk full of self-assurance, and proclaimed: “We want to buy tickets to Egypt, what’ll you sell us?” We then stared at each other — well, mostly me at them — full of confusion.

Can you tell what people at Kiwi.com do just by looking at them? For example, can you tell the IT guys at first sight?

Š: Hard to say. I can generally tell because I already know all the employees, but clearly identifying, that definitely doesn’t work; nobody insists on a dress code here. Fortunately.

Your offices won an award at the CBRE Meeting Room of the Year awards (in the wallmarketing category, i.e. harnessing the potential of walls for communication and livening up space). How do you like your offices?

K:  The moment I saw swings instead of chairs and all the original interior design along with the free-roaming dogs during my first interview, I fell in love with kiwi... Well naturally I’m exaggerating here. It’s just a shame that we receptionists can only gaze sadly from a distance at all the cool furnishings like the swings, beanbags, and playrooms.

Š: We unfortunately don’t get to leave the reception much, but things look pretty here everywhere, even in our little kingdom, where we’re often visited by our four-legged HR mascot Rufus.

GALLERY: Take a look at offices of Kiwi.com company