New Way of Working Culture supports collaboration, information flow, teamwork and project work. Employees can choose their workstations freely.

Warsaw, 15 April 2014 – On Tuesday, 15 April, CBRE organized a press breakfast, where the innovative office concept was presented.

A month earlier, CBRE moved its Polish headquarters within the same building from the 12th floor of Rondo 1 to the 24th floor, but also introduced an innovative office layout strategy, the so-called agile office.

Warsaw is the 6th CBRE office to adopt its “Workplace 360” layout, following Amsterdam, Madrid, Los Angeles, Chicago and Prague. The concept of innovative workplace strategies was designed by the CBRE in-house Workplace Consultancy Team. The participants of the meeting could not only see the new CBRE’s office but also pay a virtual visit to the office in
Los Angeles LA office, Madrid or Amsterdam

The New-Way-of-Working principle supports collaboration, information flow, teamwork and project work. Various workplaces spaces are used depending on the business activities that need to be carried out at that time, and not based on predetermined allocation. If, at any time, an employee needs space for quiet work, they can use a designated focus room, whereas a project team can work in one of the meeting rooms for a few days, among other new office facilities.

According to CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate services company, the peak utilization of traditional office space rarely exceeds 70%. This varies from sector to sector, with peak attendance reaching 70% on Tuesday afternoons and falling to 30 – 35% around noon on Fridays. This means that three of ten workstations are empty even during the busiest periods of the week.

The main reasons organizations consider introducing the new workplace strategy are efficiency and attractiveness. Such offices are easily adaptable to cope with future changes, which means fewer moves owing to flexible use. The so-called innovative office layout attracts new generations of employees who increasingly value a more informal and relaxed atmosphere in the workplace, as well as contemporary design.

The methodology of developing a workplace strategy is universal, yet the results and solutions are always different. "The fundamental part of designing a workplace strategy is a series of in-depth interviews with representatives of the client about the organization’s culture, business processes, vision of the future and mobility. This is followed by observations and measurements to identify peak attendance periods, interaction between departments, meetings, breaks and other variables. A number of assumptions are then formulated, including who is going to work flexibly, which departments are going to use particular zones in the building, expected collaboration and possible exceptions," said Karina Kreja, Associate Director, Building Consultancy at CBRE, who specializes in innovative workplace strategies and design.

Often a viable strategy will entail a reduction of the number of workstations by up to 30%, thanks to share desking, activity based working or equipping them with the latest technologies amongst others. In order to replace the system in which one desk is assigned to one employee, there are more meeting rooms for group work in small teams and an increased number of common areas conducive to informal meetings and ad-hoc cooperation. This will often result in out-of-the-box ideas, increased collaboration and breakthrough concepts which come out of free exchange and breaks in routines. The new layout concept includes additional space dedicated to silent work as well as relaxation zones.

"A skilful shift management is essential for the new workplace strategy to be successful. CBRE is the best example which confirms that it is it worth taking the risk,” said Karina Kreja, Associate Director, Building Consultancy at CBRE, who specializes in innovative workplace strategies and design.

"The process can be difficult, as it requires devoting attention to both employees and management. Consultations with the employees in the form of a survey are one of the most important elements in the process. They focus on what a client actually needs and how they imagine their perfect office. Our employees were informed 18 months earlier why this decision had been made, what was going to change, and what it would mean for each of them. Everyone felt involved in designing the new office and at the same time responsible for the final effect. Timely information, sufficient training and clear communication must all contribute to clarifying the objective," added Karina Kreja, who was responsible for the changes in the CBRE office in Warsaw.

"Even if the innovative workplace does not appear to suit a given organization, there may be elements of it that can still contribute to the growth of efficiency. For example, simply having more openness in the office layout, upgraded shared spaces or more well-designed coffee points can provide more opportunity for social interaction and the exchange of ideas," said Iwona Pasik, Senior Architect at CBRE Building Consultancy Team, the author of the new layout of the CBRE's office.

Daniel Bienias, Senior Director, Office Agency at CBRE, responsible for representation of tenants seeking new office locations, added: "According to our research, observations and interviews with the Clients, about 50% of tenants are highly interested in changing the office layout. It is the result of the 'fight for talents' and the willingness to become the most attractive employer. Everyone stresses the importance of efficiency and providing employees with comfortable atmosphere. Even conservative firms from the banking or legal sector are willing to introduce some elements from the wide range of new solutions. It is worth noting that not only firms fighting for new talents, but also organizations where the average age is 35+ are interested in these new solutions. Introducing the new workplace strategy allows to optimize the office layout at the same time increasing employees' satisfaction levels."

Łukasz Kałędkiewicz, Senior Director at CBRE Office Agency, provided insight into the viewpoint of the owners of buildings and developers, whom he represents: "Developers are starting to see this trend and are already offering help in implementing the solutions related to the new office layout strategy to potential tenants."

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