As of late, employees at one of Switzerland’s major banks have a free choice of workstations, every day. In their new offices, designed by Munich office planners Congena and furnished by Swiss office furniture manufacturer Lista Office LO, each and every employee (including management) is able to choose the workstation that is best suited to that day’s to-do list. This new concept is called “smart working”, whereby the entire office floor is divided into different working areas, such as the “meeting point”, specific areas for more informal meetings or the “think tank” conceived for more confidential exchanges or telephone conferences. Furthermore, the “library” offers employees a space where they can consult files and documents, the “quiet zone” enables deep concentration with little disturbance, and the green “business area” provides inspiration for their work.
As part of the Commission for Technology and Innovation (KTI) research project “Business Club”, the “Smart Working” initiative received academic support from the Universities of Applied Sciences in Zurich and Lucerne. Following highly positive initial results – the concept was well-received by more than half of the staff at the major Swiss bank, with 76 percent feeling more appreciated and a total of 87 percent feeling more motivated – the credit institute decided to design its new building in Zurich based on the new concept. Now the 1,950 workstations have been divided between several different zones; they are all open to every one of the bank’s employees and can be chosen to best suit their current tasks. “Smart working” therefore allows for an effective reduction of the number of workstations, since staff members are often absent due to meetings, business trips, vacation days or illness. This means that the 2,500 employees have 550 fewer workstations available for use – which however have proved to be sufficient.
Office specialist Lista Office LO was responsible for the furniture design for the “smart working” concept and created the space-defining furniture series “LO Mindport”, designed by Carmen and Urs Greutmann. The system is a combination of open and closed modules – the walls and ceilings are made of steel and the upholstered seating, tables and lighting create ideal settings for all different kinds of work. In design terms, they could be described as hybrids: half furniture, half room. The self-contained “cells” fit into any environment and can be adjusted and rearranged to suit the situation at hand. “LO Mindport” won this year’s red dot “best of the best” award. The “LO Vertical Desk” and “LO Locker”, lockable storage furniture, complete the product range.
The “Business Garden” is part of the “smart working” concept recently adopted at a major Swiss bank and is designed to provide inspiration to employees in their work, photo © Dirk Altenkirch
The Lista Office LO “Touch Down” with three sheltered niches has been conceived to promote short working sessions, photo © Dirk Altenkirch
In the Lista Office LO “Meeting Point”, four to six people can have a meeting around a standing table with leaning bolsters providing extra support, photo © Dirk Altenkirch
The Lista Office LO “Think Tank” with glass doors offers a retreat for private meetings, photo © Dirk Altenkirch
The “Quiet Area” facilitates more focused, individual work, photo © Dirk Altenkirch
The “Business Garden” offers both open and sheltered workstations, photo © Dirk Altenkirch
Lista Office LO – Smart Working
There are only 1,950 workstations available for 2,500 employees at the major Swiss bank – however, a study has proved that this is more than enough, for there is not one day when every single employee is in the office, photo © Dirk Altenkirch
View through “Touch Down” to “Meeting Point”, photo © Dirk Altenkirch
The Lista Office LO “Work Lounge” has been designed for more spontaneous, open discussions, photo © Dirk Altenkirch
Working democratically: all workstations are available for use by all employees, including managers, photo © Dirk Altenkirch
The “Social Area” provides a space for more informal exchanges between employees, photo © Dirk Altenkirch