Rate my office. Part 1: Boldare’s office in Gliwice

This is part one of a new cycle to be published on the pages of Real Estate Manager. Aleksander Szybilski from Cushman & Wakefield will visit offices across Poland in search for an answer on how to create a friendly and competitive workplace in an office project.

2019-03-08 12:39:55

The building’s exterior is hardly reminiscent of a typical office, which added to the surprise effect upon entrance to Boldare’s ultra-modern office.

ABOUT THE OFFICE:

  • Company: Boldare
  • City: Gliwice
  • Sector: IT
  • Office opened: 2017
  • Office space: 1,250 sq m
  • Headcount: 100 employees
  • Home office: yes
  • Desk sharing: no
  RATED BY EMPLOYEES HOW IMPORTANT TO EMPLOYEES
DESIGN 4.8/5 4.2/5
AIR QUALITY 3.8/5 4.6/5
LIGHT QUALITY 3.9/5 4.3/5
ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY 3.7/5 3.5/5
GREENERY 3.5/5 3.4/5
ACOUSTICS 3.6/5 3.9/5
TECHNOLOGY 4.4/5 4.7/5
WI-FI 4.6/5 5.0/5
WORKSTATION 4.5/5 4.7/5
MEETING PLACES 4.1/5 4.7/5
PLACES FOR SOCIALIZING 4.7/5 3.9/5

 

RATINGS:

1 – Poor, 2 – Fair, 3 – Average, 4 – Good, 5 – Excellent

HOW IMPORTANT TO EMPLOYEES?

1 – Completely unimportant, 2 – Rather unimportant, 3 – Hard to say, 4 – Important, 5 – Very important

An employee survey was carried out to evaluate factors impacting on the quality of a work environment and their weight according to office users. The weighted average for all ratings was 4.1, which is a confirmation that the office space has been well thought-out and tailored to the needs of employees who find their work environment both comfortable and attractive. The above results can be presented to representatives of individual departments during workshops dedicated to developing ways of improving employee perceptions of areas which were important to employees but received poor ratings, e.g. air quality. 

At far end of the café and dining area there is a gong that is sounded to announce important moments in the life of the company and its employees such as birthdays, promotions, recently-won projects, births of children and many others. When the gong sounds, employees are keen to rush to this place, frequently attracted by refreshments and opportunities to share good vibes.

 

 The main zone is divided into two levels with a mezzanine to make a better use of the high premises. Despite this, this is an open space which enables those working downstairs to see colleagues on the mezzanine and vice versa. I’ve heard from the employees that this place used to be a sports hall, which explains its height.

To enter the office, you have to press the doorbell next to the glazed door. The entrance area is more like a fashionable café than a typical entrance area in office buildings. There is no traditional reception desk. Those present here will welcome visitors and inform the people they have an appointment with that they have arrived.

CASE STUDY:

THE CHALLENGE: BOLDARE

The key assumptions behind Boldare’s new office in Gliwice were to support group work and to create an environment that nurtures creativity and is tailored to the company’s rapid growth and the nature of its operation (project work). Due to the increasing headcount, the previous head office that had the atmosphere of a large flat in which employees felt at home had become too small. The design of a new office aimed to create a place that would reflect the firm’s values, constitute its showpiece, and would enable Boldare to attract new talents. Having an attractive work environment is particularly important to the IT sector due to strong market competition.

THE APPROACH:

The company’s directors had adopted a very responsible approach to change and had set out guidelines three years before the planned relocation. One of key success factors was a knowledge base about the latest trends and examples of good practices that would inspire a new space design. Norwegian-based Telenor was an excellent example to follow - to enhance employee integration it had done away with tiny coffee places and invested in a larger, centrally-located space with high-quality coffee. Did it have any effect on the firm’s operation? It later turned out that following this change Telenor recorded a 20% growth in sales, which added another USD 200 million to its bottom line.

This knowledge provided a basis for the next phase which involved all the employees who were asked to put forward their concepts and suggestions – the most committed ones were given an opportunity to become part of the design team. Workshops with the employees helped identify the best features of the old office and areas for improvement.

The main zone is divided into two levels with a mezzanine to make a better use of the high premises. Despite this, this is an open space which enables those working downstairs to see colleagues on the mezzanine and vice versa. I’ve heard from the employees that this place used to be a sports hall, which explains its height.

By the entrance to the mezzanine, there is a wooden stage with three asymmetrical steps that frequently serve as a podium during many corporate events.

The company has a separate room in which silence is a must. The silent room helps people to calm down and relax, which is especially relevant in today’s world with an information and stimulus overload.

THE RESULTS:

A pre-war brick building with large windows was chosen for the firm’s new head office which gained a unique and original interior design. The interior may seem austere at first sight due to such items as the polished concrete floors, glazed walls for the meeting rooms, open ceilings exposing system installations and very subdued colours. The apparent minimalism has been softened by wooden furniture and the brick colour which added warmth to the space. With such an approach to office design, it is particularly important that people should come first and the space stands a chance of being future- and trend-proof. 

The firm’s unique culture is visible right at the entrance to the building where there is no traditional reception desk. Instead, there is a café area which is at the heart of the company, and the employees - just like household members - let the right person know that a client, a new employee or a nosey workplace consultant has arrived.

A unique arrangement is a cyclical relocation of teams within the office that takes place about very six months. This helps create an appropriate synergy among all the teams. Communication in team work is frequently the key to gaining a competitive advantage. Boldare has learnt its lesson really well by creating an employee-friendly space focused on improving information sharing and supporting team work.

THE EXPERT’S ADVICE:

1) I would suggest bringing more greenery into the office. Survey respondents have indicated that greenery is not a very important aspect to them, but experience shows that plants in an office also improve the acoustics, air quality and employee efficiency. Initially, to test and in an attempt to prove this assumption, I would place plants in one area of the office only. The key to success would be to determine a regime of caring about the plants (internal or external), select air-purifying plants (employees should be informed accordingly) and plants that would prove resistant to harsh office conditions.

2) Add three or four two-person meeting pods to provide privacy for confidential conversations without having to occupy a large conference room. Before buying the pods, we would advise you to ask employees for opinions and to test such a solution. Another advantage is the possibility of moving the meeting pods around without any need to bear costs of changes to ventilation and air-conditioning systems.

3) Improve the acoustics in the conference rooms by adding acoustic materials such as sound absorbing felt or foam which will reduce the echo and improve user comfort, e.g. during a video conference.

HOW TO APPLY FOR RATE MY OFFICE:

If you would like us to provide you with an unbiased assessment of your office and ways of improving the work environment in your location, please send us an email at: aleksander.szybilski@cushwake.com

 

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