– There are several advantages to having in-house designers. They understand our customers' needs, while sharing our vision for the end result. Investing in your own people is always a good investment, says Alf Astrup, Business Unit Director for Oslo and Stockholm at Technopolis.
For the shared workspace expert, which houses more than 100 companies in their Fornebu campus, investing in designers and a new interior design concept became a focal point in the process of enticing the customers' employees to return to the office post-pandemic.
– Technopolis turns 40 this year. Listening to and understanding our customers has been a priority for us since the very beginning. For that reason, it was natural for us to invest in new concepts when both our customers as well as we ourselves saw the need for change after the pandemic, says Astrup.
New and more efficient design concept for office spaces
The new concept Office Zones is built on Technopolis' expertise and extensive experience with creating high-quality workplace environments. It involves designing, tailoring, and assembling different zones in the office space based on the needs of each customer. These zones can be anything from rooms for virtual meeting spaces and quiet work, to social seating areas that are perfect for a cup of coffee with colleagues. The solution also includes furniture and a separate "furniture bank" with lots of carefully selected and gorgeous items that fit together – which makes the design process both easier and more efficient. Each office space is put together like a puzzle and provides the customers with a reasonably priced and unique office, without compromising on aesthetics.
– With the Office Zones concept, we ensure that all customers get a unique and functional office space that contributes to the employees' well-being. The solutions we offer are in line with the transition to a hybrid workplace, and the different work practices that have emerged during the pandemic. A functional office helps to build a good work culture. Many employers want to get their employees back to the office, and to achieve this, it is crucial that the work premises are both beautiful and inviting, says Jaana von Bell, Concept Manager for Workspace and Customer Solutions at Technopolis.
By streamlining the process, Technopolis spends less time putting together a unique and functional office space for each individual customer than before but finding the individual customer's optimal office solution is still a cornerstone of the business. The workspace expert facilitates a thorough process for each individual customer to design the best possible office, adapted to their needs.
– We map the employees' needs with the help of a survey. Then we put together the necessary zones, before we make a draft of the office, using the building blocks in the Office Zones. After that, we start to work with furniture and create the right atmosphere for the customer. In addition, each work area can be easily adapted to the customers' current and future needs, von Bell says.
Technopolis has campuses in six countries in the Northern Europe and hosts 1,500 companies. Selecting decor that will work for and appeal to the diverse range of companies requires carefully thought-out choices. When von Bell and the design team developed the interior of the concept, there were several things they needed to keep in mind.
– We have chosen to go for a style we call "cozy business". It is all about natural and timeless interior, which gives a homely feeling. We selected colors and details that can be mixed and matched with each other. That way, each customer gets a completely unique office, adapted to their needs, their brand and corporate culture, says von Bell.
The importance of elegant and functional premises
If the design of the office does not cover the needs of their employees, nor has the possibility to be adapted to different work methods and practices, the companies will not get their employees to return to the office, according to von Bell. During the pandemic, she and the design team noticed a significant change in the kind of solutions the market desires.
– Many have wondered how to get their employees back to the office, how to attract new talent and considered what adaptation opportunities the company has in the event of growth or decline. In addition, several employers have asked themselves whether the office premises successfully cater to the various needs of their employees. The questions and feedback we have received in recent years are among the main drivers for why we have tried to further understand and create our own opinion about the office of the future, and how we can best customize workspaces for our customers, she says.
The concept manager points out that the best office is diverse, flexible and activity based. In addition, it provides space for interaction, social gatherings, teamwork, team building, innovation, and networking. Office spaces should, in short, facilitate efficiency and productivity, but at the same time be a comfortable space for employees.
– At the end of the day, most people have relatively similar needs at work. The most important thing is to have access to different workspaces that facilitate productivity. Besides, people are social beings, and we need to meet. Causal conversations and interactions with colleagues are important for us to bond and feel connected to each other. The focus on the adaptation of office spaces has really accelerated during the pandemic. I am very happy that more and more companies understand how important it is to create functional offices that meet the needs of employees, while also reflecting the corporate culture, says von Bell.