Changing the way we work
The "New World of Work" (NWOW) approach implies a profound transformation of companies. Architecture is an essential part of this transition. It must be part of this logic to accompany and materialise the evolutions of practices.
New practices on a daily basis
Tom arrived at the office in the morning. Previously, he spent two hours of homeworking answering urgent emails. On arrival, he moved to the bar upstairs to have a coffee and view on the touch screen his schedule of meetings for the day. In passing, his colleague in the communications department asked him to plan a time during the day to discuss the future promotional campaign. They agree to an appointment in an audio-visual room and confirm the reservation on the network.
Tom is now sitting at one of his favourite workstations near a large window overlooking the water. Luckily, the place was free. From time to time, he gets up and goes to an isolated alcove to make calls without disturbing his colleagues. Two of them started an informal meeting around the big wooden table and Tom does not want to add his voice to the conversation.
The afternoon is coming to an end. Before heading for the gym for a workout, Tom isolated himself in the library. He is putting the finishing touches to his year-end report, an important exercise that requires maximum concentration. The library is almost deserted and the hushed atmosphere is perfect for this work which closes a busy but productive week.
Bricks, bytes, behaviour & branding
To be fully deployed, the concepts of collaborative and autonomous work must apply to all components of the business. This means that the spatial conception of the place only makes sense if it is accompanied by a change in behaviour, a change in the organisation, maximum dematerialisation of information and a rise in communication power within teams but also to the outside world. This transformation is summed up in the 4B slogan: “bricks, bytes, behaviour and branding”.
The new headquarters of ORES, the leading operator of electricity and natural gas networks in Wallonia, is a good illustration of this structural evolution of a company. An extensive information and training campaign involving all staff was conducted by the agency Out Of Office prior to the project to define new practices within the teams. At the same time, networks and IT tools have been redesigned to provide more flexibility and mobility. All services were involved in the research and development process to achieve the unifying project of today.
Case study - ORES
Architecture inspired by sustainable development and the new world of work
Architecture must encourage transition
To support this transformation, it is essential that the architecture materialises the concepts resulting from the collaborative approach. In collaboration with Out Of Office who was responsible for the interior design, we imagined the new headquarters of ORES in this spirit. The decompartmentalisation of services promotes collaboration. Hot-desking is generalised so that most workstations are free of attribution. Workstation specialisation replaces standardisation, and multiple and differentiated meeting spaces encourage teamwork. Isolation alcoves are associated with open spaces for tasks that require confidentiality. For the well-being of the workers, social and relaxation spaces like the gym, the library or the restaurant are integrated within the workspaces.
Architecture and technical networks support the flexibility of spaces. Natural light is ubiquitous and everyone can settle in the place that suits them best. The workspace becomes a place of routes and exchanges, a dynamic and open space.
We explored this theme in other projects designed by archipelago. The Administrative Center of the City of Uccle meets a goal similar to that of ORES: to optimise the service to the citizen by resituating the activities in a single, open and fluid place. The headquarters of Rawbank in Kinshasa (DRC) illustrate an approach that favours maximum flexibility of office floors through a three-dimensional modularity of the layout and techniques.
Case study - PROJET U