- flexibility and job satisfaction
When the computer company Siemens Nixdorf moved its head office, it did more than simply change its address; the company introduced a whole new way of working. The key words are flexibility, remote working, job satisfaction and efficiency.
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Construction year: 1995
Architect: Gullström och Westerberg Arkitektkontor AB
Flexibility has become something of a buzzword at work. But management at Siemens Nixdorf have shown that they are serious about the concept. At the new head office in Upplands Väsby, outside Stockholm, employees are organised by business area rather than in fixed workplaces in cellular offices, and those who want to can work at home or in one of the satellite offices around Stockholm.
A desk on wheels for everyone
Each employee has a desk on wheels containing his or her own paperwork, files and office material. In the morning the employee collects his or her "desk" and rolls it to a free workstation. The individual employee can then save, retrieve and process information via the server. The telephone exchange is digital, and it can track down the employee wherever he or she happens to be. If the number is engaged, the call is transferred to a voicemail box, which can then be checked by the recipient. All employees have mobile phones so that they can be more mobile and flexible. The infobar contains shared items such as post boxes, fax, photocopier and a coffee machine.
Each business area has a small room with a fixed telephone line for anyone wishing to work in peace or have potentially noisy meetings without disturbing others.
Disposed of 52 tonnes of paper
Before the move Siemens Nixdorf hired a consultancy company. Their task was to structure the work and get rid of unnecessary paper. When it was time to move, each employee was given two cardboard boxes. The message was simple: whatever you can fit into the two boxes, you can take to the new office. The outcome was that 200 people disposed of 52 tonnes of paper, and everyone still had what they needed.
Remote working saves considerable amounts of money in the form of reduced office space and reduced travel time for the employees. In due course it is Siemens Nixdorf’s aim to have half as many workplaces as employees.
Focus on groups
Siemens Nixdorf’s business puts the focus on groups. The flexible office does the same. Each business or product area has its own space with a number of workplaces. The group becomes more efficient and the transfer of knowledge increases and takes place more quickly when those who work together also sit together. The idea is to replace individual domains with a group domain. Another benefit of the flexible office is that organisational changes are easier and cheaper to implement.