They see their vision of becoming the industry’s most attractive workplace and meeting place as an obligation. When IT consultancy company Kontract needed to change office, they enlisted the help of Kinnarps’ Next Office® workplace analysis to conduct a thorough review of their needs and opportunities.
The old premises were becoming cramped for the growing IT company, but in particular, they were lacking important functions. "We had very traditional furnishings that didn't suit our business, since our consultants spend a lot of time out with customers. Occupancy in the office varies greatly, and the old office did not match our need for flexible solutions," says Lotta Grundin, Kontract’s project manager for the move.
In addition to being a challenge to efficiency and job satisfaction, the shortcoming also raised questions about how it was affecting community, collaboration and knowledge sharing in the organisation. "Our office needs to be both an efficient workplace and an attractive meeting place that clearly provides our employees with added value. It has to offer spaces for different activities, but also help to create a sense of belonging and generate energy," she says. Management had already begun to discuss some of these issues, but they also recognised that a successful change would require a holistic view of not only the current situation but also the way forward. “It was in this phase that we heard about Kinnarps’ Next Office® workplace analysis and realised that it was exactly what we needed,” says Grundin.
A workplace analysis helps to map and analyse needs and work patterns before designing a new office. With specific tools and workshops, the staff is involved throughout the change journey to create engagement and participation. Based on the results, recommendations are given regarding the layout, space allocation and working methods. Read more about our workplace analysis Next Office® here.
Employee workplace satisfaction ratings have soared since the change.
One of the most important aspects for us was that Next Office® helped us involve employees in the change process. We want everyone to feel a sense of community and feel assured that we have an open and inclusive way of working.
Through lectures, workshops and an online survey, Kinnarps captured the needs of Kontract's staff and identified the organisation’s work patterns. The current situation analysis of the office was based on the factors of productivity and creativity, collaboration, health and well-being, acoustics, light and air quality. In addition, they received support for the change process and planning of the office’s areas.
The project has now resulted in an activity-based environment where staff can choose their workplace based on their task, activity or current mood, with, e.g., clear zones for low, semi and high focus. There are also more playful, enjoyable elements, such as a lunch room with a lovely café vibe, an entrance lounge that welcomes employees and customers – and a table tennis area for those who need to do something else for a while.
"One of the biggest advantages of the new office is our drop-in rooms. They are widely used, as we have more and more remote meetings. And of course the lunch room, the vibrant heart of the office where we meet for breakfast and lunch," says Grundin.
The vision that was developed during the process with the assistance of Kinnarps states that Kontract should be: The IT industry's and Örebro’s most attractive workplace and meeting place where people are satisfied, inspired and grow in order to prosper and achieve the greatest possible success.
It’s about several things. In part, employees should actually want to come into the office, and they should want to stay in the company. But it is also an investment in being an attractive employer for new talents when we recruit. We are always looking for staff, and to attract the best candidates, we need to offer the best physical environment.
In the project, it was identified that some furniture could be reused in the new environments. One example was the office chair Plus.
This was also something interior architect Marie Oscarsson at Mom Designstudio focused on when she used Kinnarps and Kontract’s analysis to create a tangible interior design. "Not only have we looked at the actual functions and products, we have also worked to highlight the identity and brand. The environment itself should not be the only reason to come to the office, it should also reflect Kontract’s core values, vision and targets," she says and continues: "For example, we have placed great emphasis on the colour scheme bringing everything together. Going with a consistent colour tone makes it easier to change the interior design when the company grows, making the solution more sustainable for the long term."
The journey from a traditional office to a flexible, activity-based office must nonetheless have had its challenges? Lotta Grundin responds with lightning speed. "No, it’s actually been very smooth and easy. This is partly because our employees are quite used to working like this, though the old office did not support them in it, and partly because with Kinnarps’ help we did the work from scratch. We also benefit greatly from our Playbook, in which we have collected rules, practical information and explanations for how our new workplace should ideally function, based on the workplace analysis."
Lotta Grundin's statements were confirmed by the evaluation that Kinnarps carried out about six months after Kontract moved into the new office. Henrik Axell, responsible workplace strategist from Kinnarps, explains that area by area (collaboration, efficiency, creativity and well-being) the staff’s ratings of the office and the new way of working skyrocketed. On a ten-point grading scale, the overall result is a shift from just over a five to almost a nine.
"It proves just how crucial a workplace analysis is when you are about to change your office. By basing what we do on sound mapping and knowledge, we can create tailor-made solutions that make interior design a sustainable investment for the long term," says Henrik Axell.