My, your, our place of work
From the test space to the final redesign: Jürgen Bartels, section head at Basler Versicherung, explains <br/>why the new office zones with furniture from Lista Office LO have proved so invaluable at the <br/>company HQ. Photo © Total Office Management AG

Contemporary offices with new workstation systems have long since bid farewell to the confines of conventional one-person rooms and dusty ways of thinking – or so the architects, designers and furniture makers would have us believe. In reality, the new concepts are only gradually winning out, with classic work cells increasingly giving way to modular and playful configured office spaces that rely on room-in-room constellations, lounges and any number of acoustic panels – and go by the name of “Business Gardens”. So is this new order worthwhile and does it in practice really deliver on the promise of more flexibility and creativity at work? In 2014, Swiss consultancy Total Office Management outfitted a pilot zone in the Basler Versicherung headquarters with furniture by Lista Office LO – for just short of 100 employees. The concept was a great success and this year was extended to include the other rooms for about 300 more staff members. Fixed seat allocations were abolished, and replaced by individual zones with various functions. Room-in-room structures from the “Touch Down” and “Document Center” lines provide space for temporary, quiet work, while areas with height-adjustable standing tables from the “LO Extend” and complete with monitors encourage spontaneous team meetings and project work. Jürgen Bartels, head of the Software Engineering section at Basler Versicherungskonzern, explains in conversation with Sara Bertsche, how the new office fit-out was received by the staff.

Sara Bertsche: Why was this new configuration needed?

Jürgen Bartels: Instead of the customary team cell offices we wanted to try out a non-territorial workstation concept that better fits the workflow in an agile insurance corporation. And we wanted to make more efficient use of the office space, with a ratio of one workstation for every 1.2 staff members.

Did the employees have any right of say in the design?

Bartels: Of course! Each team was able to appoint a delegate. The teams then discussed various things internally, such as colors, layout of the space, and furnishings in the meeting room, etc., and decisions then taken.

What elements proved their value during the pilot phase?

Bartels: The non-territorial workstations were especially well received as was the “Arena” as the new meeting room, and the coffee zone in the center. By contrast, the “Homebase” with its 20 fixed workstations proved too small.

What does a room need to have if a concept such as the “New Basler World of Work” is to be realized?

Bartels: First up, you need lots of space to which people can withdraw. We solved this problem with “think tanks”, lounges and meeting rooms. And because many staffers now work together in a small space, good noise insulation was imperative. And highly frequented routes have to be located well away from where people sit, meaning the best place for seat is close to the windows.

Lista Office LO played a strong part in the redesign. Why did you choose that furniture system?

Bartels: In the past, our experiences with the company were very positive, it optimally addressed our wishes, and this time again provided sensible and expert advice. The furniture stands out for being of an exceptional quality and for its timeless design, which is important particularly as the staff members will be using it for a long time to come.

Read MORE about the Neue Basler Arbeitswelt

From the test space to the final redesign: Jürgen Bartels, section head at Basler Versicherung, explains <br/>why the new office zones with furniture from Lista Office LO have proved so invaluable at the <br/>company HQ. Photo © Total Office Management AG
“Touch Down” in the office jungle: for a quite job work or to take calls without being undisturbed, staff <br/>can withdraw into the green-&-black Lista Office LO phone booths. <br/>Photo © Total Office Management AG
Small, comfortable isles for relaxation: The mustard-yellow “Work Lounge” encourages creative team <br/>work and is also ideal for a personal meeting with colleagues. Photo © Total Office Management AG
Lockers in turquoise from the “LO Locker” line provide not only sufficient storage space, but also serve <br/>as practical room dividers. Photo © Total Office Management AG
Into the arena! In the meeting zone, colorful stools prompt productive brainstorming. <br/>Photo © Total Office Management AG
The conference room is more dignified – with calm blue hues and spacious conference tables. <br/>Photo © Total Office Management AG
And if absolute quiet is called for – staff can opt to work on something requiring their full concentration <br/>in the single cells – screened by acoustic room dividers, here again in muted blues. <br/>Photo © Total Office Management AG
And now for a break: In the test phase in particular the coffee corner with its comfy benches and <br/>standing tables proved highly successful. Photo © Total Office Management AG


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