Getting new ideas while playing the drums, cooking together in the event kitchen and finishing the office day in the firm’s own homey bar: all of this will be part of everyday working life for more than 900 employees of XING parent company NEW WORK SE. To create an ideal working environment at its new headquarters New Work Harbour, the group has involved its employees closely in all decision-making. At the former Unilever building in Hamburg's HafenCity (the harbour district), this approach has created a work environment providing room for leisure and hobbies in addition to state-of-the-art office space. The planning and conversion work took two years. It was closely supervised by the experts on construction and the working environment at Stuttgart-based consulting firm Drees & Sommer. The building was completed on schedule, despite Covid-related changes to the planning.
‘Especially after the changes brought about by the pandemic, we want to offer our employees a place where they have everything that working remote from home can't provide,’ explained Kai Hollensteiner, Project Manager at NEW WORK SE. ‘Although to a certain extent this new world of work has been reality at our company for a long time, we have now gone along this path even more rigorously. We want to create a motivating, high-energy work environment that enhances the post-Covid workplace – an office where we feel at home.’ What this means in practice is shown by the company in NEW WORK Harbour: a modern working environment for the ideal workflow in open-plan space.
No Working by the Book
The design is far removed from traditional open-plan offices, in which desks are lined up unlovingly. Instead, it involves an open landscape with different zones: anyone who needs open space for creative work can use the project rooms or the creative areas on the sixth floor. This is where modular and flexible furniture can be re-arranged to create work environments for specific needs in next to no time. Employees can work alone to focus on a particular task or make a confidential telephone call in separate retreat rooms and soundproof boxes. Meeting rooms equipped with the very latest media technology are available for videoconferencing. And for those who need a break during the day, there are a number of options for regeneration. You can get some fresh air on the rooftop terrace while doing open-air yoga and gazing over the city and harbor.
Inspiration is also provided by the in-house library with a range of books and magazines to browse, or the Sound Bar with a record collection and instruments to play. But that is not all by any means: if you get pangs of hunger in the course of the day, you can even try your hand at cooking together with your team in the event kitchen. ‘NEW WORK Harbour is a prime example of how we will work in the future,’ explainedArne Sebastian Fritz, Associate Partner at Drees & Sommer. The real estate expert has long observed a trend reversal in the design of office space, which has been accelerated by the Covid pandemic. ‘Employees spend most of their day in the office. In the vast majority of cases, the focus at the workplace so far has been on practicality rather than on feeling comfortable. There is a need to catch up here, since the office of the future will transition from a simple place of work at which you are required to stay, to a networking-based feel-good oasis that can compete with the amenities of working at home. And this is best accomplished if the staff members are closely involved in the design of the office.’
Photos of the NEW WORK Harbour can be found in the New Work SE picture gallery under this link.
For more information, please see the press release.