02-Arcadis-D2U-wow-webmagazine

The Arcadis offices in Milan (D2U).

Implement the smart working approach and create more synergy in the working team through a smart design: that was the brief given to D2U to design the Arcadis offices in Milan. Furniture, materials and colours were chosen to improve an ergonomic approach, sound absorption and to create a comfortable and, at the same time, flexible environment.

The 1.500 sqm workplace chosen by Arcadis to join all the company’s offices in the same place, as the Managing Director Roberto Talotta says, represented the opportunity to “create more and more synergy within the working team and to efficiently implement group guidelines on smart working approach”. The architect Jacopo della Fontana has led the D2U architect team along with the Arcadis Project Manager Alberto Spacone.

05-Arcadis-D2U-wow-webmagazine

The project has been conceived with two big naves, accessible by both the two floors, connected by open stairs and separated in the centre with a mezzanine. The offices are divided into activity areas, separated by big conference tables and individual and private workstations, allowing, however, the required flexibility to embrace the possible company’s future needs and changes.

03-Arcadis-D2U-wow-webmagazine

These space, along with the reception area and the internal coffee bar, contributes to create a good balance of individual, teamworking and private spaces, in order to allow the workers to find the perfect setting for each daily need.

06-Arcadis-D2U-wow-webmagazine

As Jacopo della Fontana says, “working alongside with the client has allowed us to implement the brief with a creative approach, respecting schedules and costs constraints”, focusing on materials, colors and furniture, in order to create a communicative environment, where all the material, sound absorption and ergonomic parameters are thoroughly respected.
The furniture is most of all designed by the Dutch company Ahrend, with the adding of some other pieces as the moquette Interface.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

03-Arcadis-D2U-wow-webmagazine

 

ESTEL-LINAK-sit-stand-wow-webmagazine

wellness at work: Italy is increasingly sit-stand!

Smart working by now is an expanding working mode. In Italy as well – at last-  it has been regularly inserted into a regulatory framework thanks to law 81/2017 that deals with key subjects, such as job duration, terms of notice, control methods and so on. And furnishing as well is adapting to this trend; for example with “agile” sit-stand workstations as Linak demonstrates.

“Sons” of smart working are widespread working and coworking. Since work is increasingly itinerant, fast, smart and agile. Meetings are more and more stand-up meetings, but they are also held in lounge areas and in common spaces. Just to make an example, in Milan, the Porta Nuova district is a bulwark of widespread work and coworking. There are many areas that rent workstations in exchange for affordable fees. Getting connected in every place and at any time of the day has become a life habit and new technologies enable us to fully live this change.

LINAK-sit-stand-wow-webmagazine


Furnishing as well is adapting to this trend.

Pieces of furniture are designed to make our work simple and healthy wherever we are. From insulating panels to ensure a certain privacy though among people, to “variable” workstations, changing according to Activity Based Office to answer to different activities (for instance the focus room or the phone booth).
Up to sit-stand tables that are so popular  in North European offices and that are gaining ground in Italy as well, in prestigious head offices and in coworking areas. And the sit-stand trend perfectly integrates in the smart-working context.
Media have already highlighted, in different articles, the importance to keep a proper posture at work and to alternate sat down work to standing moments. This behavior enables to prevent disorders such as cervical, backache, dysfunction of the spine, thus reducing discomfort and absenteeism from work. Sit-stand desks, driven by Linak lifting columns, are gaining popularity in many offices and working places in Italy.
Plenty of Italian design companies are following this furnishing trend for office furniture to keep up with remote working, coworking, home office and everything makes a job highly smart. Italy is increasingly sit-stand!

 

Photo gallery:
1 Sit-stand desk by
Manerba  equipped with linear actuators Linak.
2 Sit stand table with central column by 
Emmeitalia equipped with linear actuators Linak.
3 Sit-stand desk  Estel equipped with linear actuators Linak.
4 It is designed by Tine Mouritsen and presented at Danish LIVINGroom the first sit-stand desk that integrates a power napping pillow. It is equipped with linear actuators Linak.

SalvaSalva

SalvaSalva

SalvaSalva

01-pollock-wow-webmagazine

Creativity is already there: instructions for use.

Creativity is not a matter of being a genius, it is a matter of living in an environment and constantly adapting to it and at the same time modifying it.
So creativity can be fostered through space, enhancing well-being, flexibility and malleability of the furniture, accountability, communication and new technologies. That’s what WOW! has sustained at the conference “The boundaries of fantasy: is creativity in the office going too further?” at the  IFMA’s Facility Management Day 2017

Talking about creativity in an office environment is sometimes cause of anxiety. Workers feel like they have to do something extraordinary that they feel they can’t do, even if they don’t know exactly what and how. On the other hand, managers are struggling to create more and more innovative workplaces and ways of working, questioning, at the same time, their real effectiveness of them and trying to define where it is possible to draw boundaries.

creativity-open-mind

There’s another way to think about creativity that helps to take the pressure off: creativity is already there, it is a part of our everyday life in every environment.
The American anthropologist Tim Ingold once said that “we don’t build to dwell, we dwell therefore we build”.
Creativity arises in a constant relationship within an environment that is made of space, objects, people and rules.
A set of rules is essential for creativity, which is our own way to move inside and bend their boundaries and to keep on recreating them, like kids playing a “what if” game.
Think about the workstation of a hierarchical old-style workplace: on each desk it’s owner create his own territory, piling up papers, adding photos or other kind of objects, positioning monitors or pens in different ways. This is what I call an “inner focused” creativity, and its aim is “survive the boring routine of each day”. The challenge is nowadays to make this “already-made” creativity visible, enhance it, and use it to improve the company’s productivity.

01-piramide-Maslow-wow-webmagazine

If we think about the Maslow pyramid of needs, we can turn outwardly this creativity, by creating a space capable of satisfying the well-being, sense of belonging, engagement, fulfilment and safety, basic needs of everyone.
How can we do that nowadays? Here we give five practical suggestions:

zappos-felicità-wow-webmagazine

 1) A malleable and pliant space.
When it’s a matter of creativity, flexibility is not enough. We need a sensorial environment that people can touch, reassemble, and constantly modify and re-invent. A multifunctional space is essential, but it is not enough: it has to be open designed, thought not just for the today’s needs but capable of adapting to ten years ahead needs.

2) Objects are actions and relationships.
“Two empty chairs, one opposite to the other, are already a conversation”. Objects are both symbols of identity both a suggestion of an action. Through furniture, managers can transmit messages and influence the behaviour of the employees, creating a space suitable for the goal they want to reach, making it easily perceivable.

3-report-jll-wow-webmagazine

 3) Accountability and trust
Social facts, like office’s life, has always something that is unpredictable and often the project you have in mind comes out in a totally different result.
We need to accept this unpredictability, creating a working environment where two smart working keywords like accountability and trust are perceived and put into practice constantly.

03-Bridgit-Gebhardt-redesign-your-office-wow-webmagazine

4) Space as communication and learning.
As Birgit Gebhardt has studied, it is more effective to design space, not thinking about the material side of it, but like a stage where conversations, communications and actions take place. We need to shape communication if we want to foster new perspective and new ways of interaction, which are the foundation of a creative workplace. Moreover, we have to think about the office as a life-long learning environment, where people can exchange competences and knowledge, stimulating their personal growth.

02-sedus-insight-felicità-wow-webmagazine

5) The key role of technology.
As a recent Sedus’s research shows, technology is having a strong impact on architecture and design, developing the concept of a “spacial happiness” based on the capability of the individual to dominate the environment, deciding the lighting, heating, humidity, acoustic conditions. Technology is also crucial to control the unpredictability we talked about before: IoT and sensors help to collect a huge amount of data that managers can use to design more effective and more engaging workplace, satisfying the needs of each employee.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

02-FM Day- IFMA-wow-webmagazine

Stella-Massimo-estel-wow-webmagazine

With an 80-year-old history, Italian Smart Office looks ahead.

Interview with Massimo Stella, 42 years old, third generation in Estel Group. Since 2012 he has been Sales Director, but he attaches greater importance to teamwork rather than to his role. So, no conflict with the previous generations and maybe right the dynamic balance and also a daily debate on strategies, communication, people and products are the reasons for the success of this company, now in the top 20 in Europe, that celebrates its 80th anniversary.

Since it was set up, what are in your opinion the key steps that brought Estel into the top 20 companies in Europe? Would you follow the same path now?

The turning-point coincides with the entry of the second generation to the company in the ‘70s, when this craft firm changed into an industry; another key moment was the entry into the office furniture industry at the beginning of the ‘80s.
In the early 2000s the company has further developed through an in-depth analysis of a design-oriented culture and the ability to carry out tailor-made approaches, mainly demanded by the major customers. The forthcoming path will be marked by an even higher travel speed.

estel-italian-smart-office-wow-webmagazine

What are the company principles, which lead and mark out Estel worldwide?

Estel is steadily in the making, watching and analyzing the actual facts and the evolution of the market on a global scale, in order to find the right answers as regards the product. We are now a leader in the office furniture sector in a quite different context: the static condition of the workplace has been questioned in companies of all sizes; the possibility to work anywhere entails the necessary adjustments of the whole working environment. Technology is the driving force behind this major evolution and that’s why Estel has increased its investment in R&D.
Design is no doubt another crucial aspect: we don’t consider ourselves just “mere” furniture makers, we can also offer comprehensive, space-planning solutions.

 

First-rate design and research are also Estel’s success factors, how many energies and resources, in per cent, were necessary to achieve the intended purpose? 

The new ways of working dramatically changed the design approach and the office space planning.
Research has always been a strategic factor for Estel. In our planning approach the worker is at the core of the creative process, that’s why our range of furniture is no longed divided “hierarchically” (executive, clerical, etc) but by function.
By the collaboration with architects, interior designers and a professional team, Estel can be a leading company in the Smart Office sector, with high quality level products bond in terms of materials and design.

Estel has also launched the “pleasure of agile working”, through the claim “Italian Smart Office”; how many of your costumers in Italy and abroad follow the Smart Working approach and how many have a more traditional attitude?

Compared to the United States, the pioneers of smart working, our country is definitely limping along, but 2016 was a turning point thanks to the new law. Among UE countries, only England, German and the Scandinavian countries are far “ahead” but just in numerical terms.
It’s a meaningful change of mentality. Workers are becoming flexible and “nomads”, willing to “give up” habits that were once rooted like personalization and dimension of their own territory.

01-Estel_Cartesio_Evo_Sit&Stand-wow-webmagazine

You fit out some of the major Headquarters all over the world, how is your view of Italian Smart Office accepted? Which differences do you find in the culture of work and ways of working in the other countries?

In countries, where there is already a “smart” approach, you deal with stakeholders already fully formed in the subject, while in other countries these theories are still little known and arouse curiosity and interest. So, the commercial approach changes considerably, for instance, in the US the design of products is more emphasized while in the Far East they are rather spreading a more complex concept.
Companies like ours cannot do without flexibility, for it has an impact on our identity: we can offer serial products yet with customized measures and finishes. It is essential in an international context where taste and ways of working may differ a lot.

06- Estel - Dolly divano-wow-webmagazine

1-osw17-wow-webmagazine

#OSW17 research: Smart Working in Italy.

Crowded with people as usual, the annual meeting entitled “Smart Working. Underneath the tip of the iceberg” (Sotto la punta dell’Iceberg) for the presentation of OSW research (by Osservatorio Smart Working, School of Management of Politecnico di Milano) Increased by 14%, smart workers are now 305.000.
Especially the big corporations (36%) already have structured projects as against 5% of Public Administration and 7% of small and medium sized companies.
All of them are pleased with the benefits: increased productivity and work-life balance, lower absenteeism, costs and pollution.
WOW! is media partner of the conference.

In Italy, Smart Working concerns the private sector in particular (large and small-medium companies), but Public Administration (17% of total smart workers) is making up for lost time, also through the new law, that aimes at making “smart at least 10% of its employees within three years.

benefici-osw17-wow-webmagazine

Once again it was found that there is no single model of smart working, every company must define the most stuitable project for its structure: flexible working time to a higher level of mobility; off-site working one day a week or, on the contrary, at least one day a week at the firm!
Fiorella Crespi, director of OSW, and Mariano Corso, scientific director, presented the results of the research 2017 and underling the benefits of the smart working with a special attention on the important role of workplace as smart working driver.

The Italian Smart Workers spend 67% of their working time at the company on average, 15% of time is spent working at different positions inside the headquarters, and 13% in other branches of the company. 33% from home, coworking spaces, or customers and suppliers offices.

50% of smart workers consider themselves satisfied and declare a better capacity to work together. even in virtual teams, and a good command of Digital Soft Skills. Only 1% is not satisfied.
Reflecting the findings of the 2017 study, the meeting brought Public Administration in progress projects to the fore and emphasized some successful experiences.
And then OSW partners got on the stage, all pioneers in smart working, who provided an all-round overview of the various issues (among them Plantronics and Sedus).

osw-smart-working-award-2017-wow-webmagazine

Smart Working Award 2017

The conferences ran out with the size giving ceremony of Smart Working Award 2017 and the presentation of the winner projects:
AXA Italia project “Smart working, smart life”, presented by Pascal Bérnard.
CNH Industrial project “Lavoro da Casa”, presented by Riccardo Iessi.
Costa Crociere project “Sm@rt Working Costa – Moving Forward!”, presented by Paolo Tolle.
Generali Italia project “New Ways Of Working”, presented by Simone Viola.
Hilti project “Smart Working@Hilti”, presented by Maria Vittoria Loi and Sandra Polito.
Special mention to Benetton for the project “Stretch your Time”.

SalvaSalva

SalvaSalva

workplace-colore-wow-webmagazine

The colorful future of the office.

Color can be several things in a workplace: food for our mind, an effective and immediate way of communication, a trigger of sensations and emotions and a powerful identity totem. That’s why color matters in every trend we can trace about the contemporary office, from agile and smart working to wellbeing and creativity, from flexible design to brand and corporate identity.

While the workplace has become a more stimulating, multifunctional, agile and communicative space, color is getting the attention of every interior designer and architect.

11-PwC-evolutiondesign-Energy Management-Picture by Peter Wurmli-wow-webmagazine.jpg

“Colors are the food for our mind”, Christina Wiklund, CMF Manager in Kinnarps, said during the presentation of the Kinnarps Color Studio: a mind that has to remain creative, open and enough flexible to face the new and dynamic challenges of an ever-changing market.
Therefore color, as food, has to keep our mind healthy and “fully charged”, creating a landscape where the employee can find what he needs at every moment. It has to be also a simple and easy to digest kind of food, helping to orient yourself in a space shaped by nomadic and mobile ways of working, tracing a visible map.

01-Uffici-Vodafone-Padova-picture-by-Beppe-Raso-wow-webmagazine

Most of all, color shares with food the fact of giving a connotative and perceivable identity feeling: from the face and body painting of the ancestral populations to the medieval coats of arm, to the flag of the countries, till the nowadays expression of the corporate identity on the office walls.
Color is a very effective way to create a banner to follow, to communicate with people, to transmit through space sensations, rules, required behaviours, and messages, as it is shown by the AzkoNobel’s Heart Wood, Color Future 2018,  chosen to transmit a welcoming and reassuring feeling to the people living in the workplace.

06-CBRE-e45-wow-webmagazine

So, what is the kind of color we need for the new architecture of communication (as it was defined by Birgit Gebhardt during the conference at the Dieffebi‘s Showroom in Milan at the last Fall Design Week)?
It’s a color that takes inspiration from reality: like the ones used in traffic lights, it it has to direct the constant flow of people, communication, and information; like an heraldic symbol it has to create a sense of corporate membership; finally has to be scenographic, capable of creating the perfect stage where a free and creative play can take place, evoking, at the same time, more intense and meaningful emotions.
Text by Gabriele Masi

palette-colour-trend-2018-akzo-nobel-wow-webmagazine

Communication via architecture for a new WOW-effect office.

“The design of the office space has to focus on the structure of the human collaboration and communication”. The idea of workplace presented by the trend expert Birgit Gebhardt at the showroom Dieffebi is based on a “landscape of learning”, where networks and data will allow every individual to find his own way of expressing himself, through constant development and self-organization.

Will the office loose its WOW effect in the future, replaced by different spaces more suitable for a more creative, convenient and flexible kind of job? It is a pretty ongoing question that Birgit Gebhardt has studied for the last years, focusing on how we have to rethink the office space in order to let it have an important role still to play.

That was the topic of the lecture “The evolution of Smart Working: Rethink human work, redesign your office”, held by the German trend expert during the Brera Design Days at the Dieffebi Showroom, that celebrates for the occasion the first year of opening. Our society, as long as the economic world, is going through a radical structural change: from an industry-focused system, based on concepts like massification and standardization, we are moving toward the digital era where network and data produce a massive layer of information that help us to focus and produce at an individual scale.
If once the motto was “bigger, faster, further, cheaper”, nowadays is more like “unique, on the spot, feasible by anybody, as many as needed”.

06-scuola-di-atene-Birgit-Gebhardt-wow-webmagazine

Communication and collaboration are becoming the core of this new structure and therefore they are changing also the way of designing and living the workplace.
The office can’t be anymore the stiff and hierarchical environment, where the inside is hidden from the outside, but it has to be a transparent, intelligent and malleable space, a stage where competences and performance can happen freely.
A communication via architecture is therefore fundamental, enhancing the different structure and social and psychological features of the collaboration and communication processes, offering a variety of codes and sensual stimulations, that allow the people to build a profitable learning culture.

03-Bridgit-Gebhardt-redesign-your-office-wow-webmagazine

“Learning” is another keyword of the future office. In fact, communication and collaboration are not sterile events, but their main focus has to be the developing of personal and group competences and creativity.
The workplace has to become a blended learning space, where like in gaming, everyone is free to try and experiment, where, as Gebhardt suggested no one should be afraid of thinking in a totally different direction”. We need to create, therefore, a “landscape of learning”, based on a free and constant process, and on a good self-organization.

01-Oerestad-Gymnasium-Birgit-Gebhardt-wow-webmagazine

At the same time, it is necessary to create an environment where design and people are strictly connected, entangled, and capable of freely modifying one another. “A space that can’t be too designed: you need to touch it, to change it. If it is too designed, people won’t touch it”. So it is not just the human being to adapt to the situation, but it also the other way around. A stimulating space, finally, is a workplace where people are allowed also “not to focus”. As neuroscience shows, to be creative we need alpha waves that our brain produces when we are not too concentrated on one particular task. That’s why another catchphrase of the future office might be “Let it happen”.
Text by Gabriele Masi.
Pictures from New Work Order by Birgit Gebhardt
Captions:
1. The School of Athen, Raphael: a model for the nowadays office space
2. The metaphorical pictograms used by Rosan Bosch
3. Ørestad Gymnasium, Denmark, picture by Adam Mørk.

01-Bridgit-Gebhardt-redesign-your-office-wow-webmagazine

01-CBRE-e45-wow-webmagazine

Turning restrinctions into opportunities: CBRE, Rome.

A variety of layouts and settings that found a common mood in the corporate and smart working culture: that’s how the studio e45 has designed the CBRE office in Rome, personalizing a rigid working environment and, at the same moment, optimizing its peculiarities.

The main challenge the e45’s design team had to face when they started to design the CBRE office, next to Rome’s central train station, was how to manage a space with a stretched layout, structural partitions along the corridors and several other constraints, in order to create a suitable environment for the smart ways of working, where it was possible to place into a thin slice of floorplan a reasonable amount of desk to fulfill the clients requirements.

10-CBRE-e45-wow-webmagazine

That allows e45 to experiment some original solutions, offering a variety of work settings.
The reception desk has been replaced by a welcome coffee area where clients can sit on a touch down table while preparing a meeting or relaxing on a stylish Italian couch, under the CBRE logo, carved into a two-color wall of moss, that has also the function of noise reduction.

04-CBRE-e45-wow-webmagazine

The open space area was kept simple, with Kinnarps’s high adjustable desking system, Cardex’s furniture, Caimi Brevetti’s soundproof panels and personal numbered lockers for desk sharing. The corridor becomes a meeting point with whiteboards where people can share thoughts and ideas spontaneously, just beside written text of songs about Rome, reproduced on metal shelves, also all over the office space. Furthermore, as any contemporary office requires, all the meeting rooms, informal spaces, huddles, phone booths are equipped with video conferencing devices. Finally, a kitchenette area, as well as relax room, find a place into the project, inviting people to sometimes take a break.
Text by Gabriele Masi.
Pictures by Matteo Zanardi.

06-CBRE-e45-wow-webmagazine

 

SalvaSalva

SalvaSalva

SalvaSalva

SalvaSalva

Prysmian Hq: a workplace to make new WOWs grow.

Aside

An efficient layout between the historical memory and the future: the Prysmian HQ in Milan, by the firm Maurizio Varratta Architetto (architecture) and DEGW (interior design) is conceived as an outgoing” space, dominated by the hierarchy-breaking open space design. The sustainable requalification of the building is centred on two bioclimatic glasshouses that link architectonically and socially the structures, the activities and the people of the four former factory blocks.

12.000 sqm office area and 1200 sqm glasshouses: these are the numbers of a smart working revolution that is taking place in the Italian headquarters of Prysmian.
In 2011 the world leader company for the production of cables for the energetic, telecommunication and optical fibre industries, begin the project to renovate the old factory complex in order to create a modern office space.

10-Prysmian-HQ-wow-webmagazine

The design by the firm Maurizio Varratta Architetto and DEGW has its core in the two bioclimatic glasshouses that link the four open space blocks of the building. These green oasis are not just a symbol of some of the most important smart working features (connectivity, well-being, sustainability, meeting, relationship, mobility), but also fundamental architectonical elements that allows a better natural enlightenment, energy saving and a better regulation of the internal microclimate, thanks to the sloping pitched structure of the covering capable of optimizing the solar radiation. 

The roof pitches facing north allow natural light to flow into the office blocks facing onto them without bringing in any extra heat and are fitted with shutters. Instead, the roof pitches facing south have adjustable mechanically-controlled shutters to provide natural lighting and, at the same time, keep out some of the direct sunlight and any extra inflow of heat.

07-Prysmian-HQ--credit Dario Tettamanzi--wow-webmagazine

“The Prysmian HQ in Milan is a building complex with an apparently simple but technologically cutting-edge architectural form, which follows the very latest principles of energy sustainability, environmental quality, and respect for the environment. The old building was completely knocked down and all its constituent materials were recycled. It guarantees its occupants enjoy a good quality of life in accordance with the highest international standards”, the architect Varratta says.
Three of the factory blocks host on three levels the open space offices, meeting rooms, relax areas, and in a slighlty elevated area, the top management offices.
The fourth block, instead, is thought for hosting open and private events and activities, as congresses or training courses.

05-Prysmian-HQ-credit Dario Tettamanzi-wow-webmagazine

The interior design by DEGW is inspired by the “Workplace change management” methodology, developed in collaboration with Methodos. According to this, every changing is a process that comes from the interaction and the participation of the people that live daily the environment, meanwhile, the design has to be a driver for the change.
Another brand of the Lombardini22 group, FUD Brand Making Factory, with Interbrand, has developed the space branding project.
Starting from the Prysmian logo on the bench of the reception, all the spaces tell about the company through some significant sentences, infographics, and products. Corporate values, such as ‘linking the future’,  are physically embodied in glass film showing infographics about the company’s worldwide operations in the form of words written in thick white plexiglass.
Text by Gabriele Masi.
Pictures by Dario Tettamanzi.

04-Prysmian-HQ-credit Dario Tettamanzi-wow-webmagazine

 

SalvaSalva

SalvaSalva

Benessere-happiness-wow-webmagazine

Body, Mind and Environment: a 3D wellness in the office.

If anyone has to pick up a concept to sum up the nowadays evolution of the workplace, he would choose “feeling good”. As the biopsychosocial model has become used to defined wellness and health, the environment has been understood to have a fundamental role in shaping the different dimensions of employees’ well-being: physical, psychological and social.

Do you want to improve the level of well-being of the employees working in your company? Start from the environment they live in. The environment, infact, as also the OMS has recognized, highly affects the physical, mental and social state of humans. In the office design, as well, this concept has become essential to build the scaffold of a healthy and productive working ecosystem.

technogym-antonio-citterio-patricia-viel-wow-webmagazine-Wellness1

Bio
Today’s office design is taking a step forward, in order to keep the workers healthy and therefore more productive. Problems and diseases of the musculoskeletal system due to wrong, long-lasting sitting positions, for example, are prevented by dynamic ways of working, agile workstations, sit-stand working desks, or unusual seats like the Technogym’s wellness ball or the ones that Kinnarps has presented at the last Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair.

Also, the arrival of the IoT has played a fundamental role, helping to improve the quality of the air, the lighting and heating system, allowing also to personalize them through personal smartphones.
Moreover, other services in the office are thought to encourage the employee to take care of themselves: company restaurants with healthy menus and fully equipped gyms come along with wellness rooms and dedicated doctor’s appointment.

happiness

Psychic
If you’ve never heard about happiness at work at work, probably you have been in another planet for the last years. The working environment and HR management get inspiration from the marketing and advertising industries as “creator of experiences”, while it resembles more and more to a theme park, where anyone can try fun and different things. The keyword is “human experience”, a mix of engagement, fulfillment, and empowerment, capable of successfully leading the company through the future challenges.

A new interesting trend comes from the new findings from neuroscience that have brought in the office a new concept of equipped relax areas, music, and spaces capable of reducing stress and facilitate concentration, even in noisy and dynamic open spaces.

Hoofddorp, 19th of March 2017 – Plantronics office. Photo: Mats van Soolingen

Social
Casual meeting as the occasion of new and original ideas. The office design aims to increase the chance of encounter among employees (in-between, break and informal meeting areas) and between the inside and the outside of the company (co-working spaces attracts external professionals while more frequently curious customers visit the exhibition spaces, attend classes or use the services offered by the company’s environment).

The symbol of the social experience of the workplace is the ever-present foosball table and the Dutch Plantronics office’s rehearsal room, while couches, armchairs and kitchen spaces enhance the home-feeling that a working space nowadays has to give. A good work-life balance, at last, helps to live more easily the working environment experience: company’s kindergartens, pets in the office, agile and smart working strategies are just some examples of the more and more blurred boundaries between office and private life.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

1-havn-cowork-buzzi-space-wow-webmagazine

 

SalvaSalva

2-Voyager8200-wow-webmagazine-plantronics

No noise and distraction wherever you work.

According to a research by Oxford Economics, employees ranked the ability to focus on work without interruptions as their top priority, with nearly 40% taking steps to mitigate noise. Plantronics a pioneer in audio and wearable technology and smart working, designed Voyager 8200 UC a business-grade headset to answer to the needs of digital nomads and smart workers.

The premium audio quality and clarity ensure an optimal experience whether you’re taking a conference call in the middle of an open office, listening to your favourite music on the train, or working in a crowded coffee shop.
Voyager 8200 UC is designed for the connected executive who needs to be in constant communication, and for employees in an open office space who find themselves facing distractions and noise.
“When a workforce is highly mobile, a business’ ability to ensure their associates can focus while collaborating becomes a top priority,” said Gavin Sear, Global Product Marketing Manager at Plantronics.
Voyager 8200 UC will be available in the U.S. near the end of July, 2017 and worldwide by early September (at Plantronics authorised partners with an MSRP of € 349 / £ 309).

400-Voyager8200-wow-webmagazine-plantronics

Additional Voyager 8200 UC features and benefits include:
Four “beam-forming” microphones detect and amplify the speaker’s voice, while two additional microphones detect and block environmental noise for the Voyager family’s business-grade audio experience, which ensures crystal-clear call quality in a boomless form-factor.
Enhanced voice alerts announce caller names, mute and connection status and talk-time level.
Wireless battery life offers up to 24 hours of listening time and a 3.5 mm audio cable facilitates in-flight use.
Microsoft Skype for Business certified; compatible with Cisco Jabber and other softphones.
Using Bluetooth technology, Voyager 8200 UC can pair to Windows and Mac computers, and many IP phones through Plantronics’ BT600 USB audio processor, as well pair directly to both iOS and Android phones and tablets.
Wireless range of up to 98 ft/30 m from supported Class 1 Bluetooth® devices.
Smart sensor technology detects if the headset is worn – pausing streaming media when removed, and resuming media play when the headset is put back on.

automattic-smart-working-wow-webmagazine

Smart working between physical and virtual space.

The success of smart working is driving organizations to design different scenarios for work and workplace. A large number of companies welcome smart working while leaving the collaborator the freedom to work in the office or anywhere else. Finally, more and more companies, called “location-independent“, have decided to not have an office and to make their collaborators only work remotely.
The last trend is the online office thanks to software that simulates the physical workspace that still many people feel the need.

Some companies reject smart working by postponing the change at a future time that will sooner or later come. But those companies that decide not to have an office make a bold choice, but it is not without sense. In most cases, it is a shared choice with their collaborators. Recently, Automattic, the company that develops CMS WordPress, has decided to sell its offices in San Francisco: 1400sqm of open space offices with many attractions. The reason for the sale is simple: 5-6 collaborators go to the office, while everyone else prefers to work remotely.

 


Buffer
is another company that after a few years of working in an office has decided to leave it to let its collaborators have the freedom to work where they prefer.
The “location-independent” companies have made their choice an extra reason to invest in corporate culture and create a strong team sense. They also have perks and benefits to capture new talents remotely and keep those that are already present, for example they reimburse those who decide to work in a co-working.
When we talk about working in an office or working remotely, people can be divided into two groups: some prefer to work remotely and gladly give up the office; others need the office as a place of aggregation and relationship that give meaning to the word work.
Millennials and even more the generation Z usually approve remote working and often require it. Previous generations are opening up to smart working thanks to higher quality of life and work.

A new trend: the virtual online office.

6-sococo-team-online office-wow-webmagazine

Among these new ways of working and generational incentive there are companies that work in an online office. This means that employees use software that simulates the physical space of an office. For now the spaces are drawn in 2D, but the 3D step is close because companies like Facebook are already integrating Oculus Rift technology.

These softwares have nothing to do with second life or ludic use of virtual spaces.
The purpose of an online office is to recreate the personal proximity and functionality of a physical space that is needed for teams to work together remotely. Teams are co-localized online in an office designed on a visual map with avatars representing people within virtual space.
The rooms and common spaces of this virtual office simulate the kitchen, the space with a relaxing couch, the rooms where you are very focused and do not want to be disturbed. The concept is very similar to the design of the spaces according to their function. The policy of such a space describes how to behave internally.

sococo-team-online office-wow-webmagazine

My personal experience has improved a long way since I joined Virtual Team Talk, an international co-working space where different professionals meet and work in the space created by the service sococo.com.
In this space it may happen that I am in the “casual” room together with a person and I take the opportunity to know him or her.
Or else I am in the “very focused” room where everyone is very focused and I will not venture to disturb my colleagues. I can go to the “open discussion” room for a remote brainstorming where all the colleagues have the webcam on.
In the “after party” room I can informally get to know my colleagues after work.
With the passing of time the feeling of closeness of your colleagues is undeniable. Working in a remote team often gives the feeling of not knowing what your colleagues are doing: whether they are working on computers or are out for a commission.
Integration with tools that facilitate communication is already advanced. Also with this work mode, people are free to go and come into virtual space by communicating their presence to others.
The global movement of remote workers is growing constantly and an online office can help simulate a physical space that still many people feel the need.
Choosing to adopt smart working so that a collaborator can choose when to work in the office, and when to work remotely, following a clear company policy, it looks even better with the use of an online office.

Text by Giovanni Battista Pozza, Digital Entrepreneur.

Photo Automattic: credit Scott Beale https://www.flickr.com/photos/laughingsquid/ 

Photo Office online: Virtual Team Talk Sococo 

SalvaSalva

smarther-bticino-eliot-wow-webmagazine-2

From Smart Working to Smart Living.

BTicino, a brand of Legrand Group, commissioned a survey to Ipsos and Osservatorio Internet of Things of Politecnico di Milano. The study investigates the Italians’ perception about IoT devices at home: safety, energy efficiency and comfort are their main requirements.

AfterSmart Working is successfully growing in the workplace and technologies have become more and more user friendly, the desire for “smart” objects grows at home, too: from Smart Working to Smart Living.
The study shows that 76% of interviewees know the meaning of Smart Home and 66% has at least a connected device at home, and it is interesting to note that 39% intends to buy another one in the next 12 months. System reliability and easy installation underlie the processes of purchase, while safety and energy efficiency and comfort are the needs the connected devices can meet specifically.
33,6% considers as absolute priority the control of what is happening in the house, especially when nobody is at home, also through the use of smartphones. But with an aging population, smart home technologies are even a system that can help “frail” people according to 15% of interviewees.
The connected thermostat is a decisive factor of the Smart Home: 44% of interviewees is interested in a connected thermostat to adjust the temperature remotely. Energy saving and lower consumption are the main levers.

BTicino/Legrand respond to the desire for a Smart Home with a new product of the ElioT program:

SMARTHER- bticino-eliot-wow-webmagazine

Smarther, a user-friendly Wi-Fi connected thermostat. 

The future of IoT is already here with the prototypes Entrée and O-tune:

Prototipo- Entree-bticino-eliot-wow-webmagazine

new archetypes of products meant to enhance the users’ experience.

Prototipo-O-tune-bticino-eliot-wow-webmagazine

open-Nuvola-HQ-Lavazza-Cino-Zucchi-wow-webmagazine

Working in a cloud: Lavazza HQ by Cino Zucchi.

Nuvola, the HQ Lavazza designed by Cino Zucchi, is a project that aims to regenerate an abandoned multifunctional area, opening it towards the city of Turin, while creating and transmitting the brand identity of the company. Conceived to facilitate smart and activity-based ways of working, the environment of the “Cloud” highlights some contemporary office trends as connectivity, interaction and the rediscovery of the importance of conviviality.

Nuvola, the Lavazza HQ by the arch. Cino Zucchi is based on the renovation of an 18.500 sqm. industrial complex in Turin, with a particular attention to the energetical and environmental sustainability (the project is running for the LEED Gold certification) and to create a space open towards the city. The office spaces, that will host about 600 employees, is conceived as the centre of the “Nuvola System”, that will include a public parking, a green square and an archaeological area dedicated to an early Christians basilica, discovered during the excavations.

03-Nuvola-HQ-Lavazza-Cino-Zucchi-wow-webmagazine

In addition, by 2018 the Lavazza Museum, De la centrale, will be inaugurated: an event space with a 1000 people capacity, including also the gourmet restaurant Condividere by Lavazza, designed along with Ferran Adrià and Dante Ferretti.
Also the relocation from the old offices has followed a sustainable process, recycling part of the furniture and donating over 3.000 pieces to schools, hospitals, and charities.
“The Hq represents how we conceive a contemporary company. It is not just about moving desks, it is moving forward towards a more integrated, stimulating and human-centred dimension. A comfortable and, at the same time, technologically advanced headquarters to connect the 90 countries where we operate”,  Giuseppe Lavazza, Vice Presidente Lavazza, says.

“We have based the space planning on the concept of an activity-based office, stressing the role of technology and environments in creating connectivity”Michele Aruanno by GTP comments.

“This advanced open space is not composed of separated environments and repeated lines of desks, but it is designed with adjustable and, at the same time, functionally defined environment, all furnished with acoustic partitions and recharge areas for devices, along with space for quick and informal meetings, as well as separated meeting rooms that allow to easily connect with the outside”.

06-Nuvola-HQ-Lavazza-Cino-Zucchi-wow-webmagazine

The value of “conviviality” and the importance of the ”coffee break” are two of the main feature of the project, literally translating the company’s activity into the ways of working: interaction and socialization are also expressed in different environments as the gym, the relax area and Bistrot, an innovative restaurant, designed by Cino Zucchi Architetti with RGA, in collaboration with Slow Food.

layout-gtp-Nuvola-HQ-Lavazza-Cino-Zucchi-wow-webmagazine

Also, the new furniture is chosen to improve a smart working approach, encouraging wellbeing, comfort and sharing. Estel, as a contractor, has supplied tailor-made solutions, while also Arper, Sedus, Vitra, Artemide furniture has been used. Tecno has designed the mobile partitions, Underline the graphic communication, while the IoT and technological solution have been furnished by Samsung, Cisco and Acuson.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

02-Nuvola-HQ-Lavazza-Cino-Zucchi-wow-webmagazine

sedus-se-work-sofa-system-divani-wow-webmagazine

Sofa system and lounge seating: are they the new workstations?

Collaboration, concentration and sharing” repeated over and over like a mantra, the keywords of the Workplace 3.0 that require informal atmospheres and dynamic and versatile furnishings to express themselves in the best possible way. That’s how the lounge seating and the sofà systems turn into very inspiring objects for the designer.
Here are some of the most interesting products launched at Salone del Mobile and FuoriSalone.

The perfect settings for smart working are those hybrid areas, borderline between relaxation and work; and also in the transit places of contract world like hotel’s halls; in the fluid in-between areas both public and privacy spaces, too.
So even the sofas have to be hybrid and they are often used as unconventional workstations.

What are the prerequisites for a sofa system?
First of all, they must be pleasant and comfortable to host a meeting in the better way; the look is also most important fore their task is to to liven up and lend a recognizable image to those circulation areas risking to be nondescript: unusual shapes and bright colors are a must.
And they should also be flexible, modular, and transformable, in order to easily change configuration to answer to the different needs.
They are versatile and customizable, sometimes involving the user in a co-design activity.
Sometimes look even like a cocoon and integrate acoustic and visual insulation solutions, to define undisturbed areas.
They are equipper with functional accessories (coffee table, recharge station for devices, fixed and rotating work tables).
As for all kinds of workplace, ergonomics should never be overshadowed.
Here are the amazing seatings for in-between areas launched at Salone del Mobile and Fuori Salone.

Sedus, se:work, Design by Sedus Design Team.

2-sedus-se-work-sofa-system-divani-wow-webmagazine

An ergonomic and multifunctional upholstered furniture to make people feel at home in the office. To achieve perfect comfort when seated, specially contoured back padding provides optimal support for the lumbar region; an elastic membrane composed of cords gives further support under the seat upholstery.
Thanks to its modules, tables and power supply options, it provides unlimited combinations for all kinds of use while creating a flexible office environment. You can choose a standard formation such as a circle, S-shaped, face-to-face or bench, or your own individual layout. It is equipped with various tables and work surfaces.

Blå Station, Bob, design by Thomas Bernstrand and Stefan Borselius.

A sofa, which is supplied by the linear metre. As a result of its narrow construction modules, it is an extremely versatile and self-evident modular sofa in moulded polyurethane with built-in connection fixtures. Bob consists of ve unique, 26 cm wide modules which facilitate almost endless configurations. 

Estel, Dolly, design by Stefano Gallizioli.

estel-lounge-dolly-sofa-system-divani-wow-webmagazine

Dolly is a new family of modular sofas, armchairs and benches created to furnish public spaces. The sofa is available also in Privé version, with high backrest that has the function of privacy screen. It can be configurated with two sofas, facing each other and linked by a Privé panel. The Privé padded panel can be équipped with wired table and TV arrangement.

Nowy Styl Group, Tapa, design by Mac Stopa.

Nowy-Styl-Group- Tapa-sofa-system-divani-wow-webmagazine

A system of pouffes that combines a striking look with clever functionality.It is a modular solution whose basic element is an “island” consisting of mobile pouffes that turn on a pivot. It ensures different arrangement possibilities in one space using the same modules. The line is complemented with freestanding pouffes whose shape reflects the upper and third level of the basic modular unit.

True Design, DNA, design by Leonardo Rossano & Debora Mansur.

DNA-True-Design-sofa-system-divani-wow-webmagazine

A captivating piece of furniture, shaped after the helix form, inspired by the dynamic forms of DNA; it consists in a unique construction assembly which is created by a single section of curved plywood, that is mirrored in design to create multiple seating configurations. It is is also available in the upholstered collection, in fabric or leather.

Offect, Dune, design by studio Front (Sofia Lagerkvist and Anna Lindgren).

DUNE-offect-sofa-system-divani-wow-webmagazine

Dune is an oasis that comes to life when it is used, it is so airy it almost appears to levitate; it is a large piece of furniture that easily can seat up to eight people”. Despite being so delicate, Dune stands firmly on the ground. Its legs not only support the asymmetrical seat, they also rise above it to hold four table tops that are all equipped with the latest generation usb-sockets.

Segis, Longway, by Bartoli Design.

longway-segis-sofa-system-divani-wow-webmagazine

New names and new endless configurations the masterpiece of the sofa-system. It is a modular system of narrow and wide ribbons of upholstered seating which undulate to form seats and armrests creating large. The collection includes single and modular elements and creates results never seen before, the alternation of horizontal planes and curves offers a marked visual impact.

Lapalma, Plus, design by Francesco Rota.

4-screen-lapalma-add-system-desk-rota-wow-webmagazine

Soft form and easy modularity are the characteristics of this modular system. The seating is wider, deeper and more generous, the structure loses its fine outline and elegant linear design; the new concept is about softness and big-heartedness rounded shapes. It offers a variety of units, and can be used in combination with the Screen partitions that can act as a backrest to the piece, providing welcome intimacy and a feeling of exclusion from the surroundings, with the added possibility of sound absorption.

Manerba, Undecided Sofa, design Raffaella Mangiarotti e Ilkka Suppanen.

2-Manerba-Undecided-Sofa- Mangiarotti-Suppanen-wow-webmagazine- lounge

It is created for the perpetual redefinition by changing height and colors: the high upholstered backrest is an invitation to carve out a private corner where to meet without formalities; an acoustically comfortable and isolated place to talk vis-à-vis, leaning on the soft pillows.

Luxy, Puzzle design by Itamar Harari.

luxy-puzzle-sofa-system-divani-wow-webmagazine

It is a waiting system available in three different modules –one, two seater and an ‘L’ shaped three seater– that could be combined to fully exploit the qualities of the space, decorating with modern style the environment.The geometric modularity of the infinite combinations is enhanced by the design of the seams chosen.

Ares Line, Base, by Frigerio Design.

ares-base-sofa-system-divani-wow-webmagazine

A modular sound proofing screens system to create protected individual or relational spaces; places to meet up, focus, relax or participate; affording privacy when necessary, or room for interaction and sharing as needed. It can be used as a simple sound screen, as a seat or a meeting space, since it is versatile by vocation.

Moroso, Bell Lab, design by Ron Arad.

moroso-bell-lab-arad-sofa-system-divani-wow-webmagazine

It was originally a site-specific design for the Bell Lab technological research and development centre, located in New Jersey, and designed by Eero Saarinen. Ron Arad’s idea sets out from the pattern on the hall floor, which is made up of large, rectangular slabs in black, white and grey. The sofa is instead made up of large grey and black cylinders positioned horizontally and overlaid to form the seat and back, creating a flexible interaction with this extremely striking space. 

Alias, Okome, design Nendo.

Ci aveva già vaffacikato a Orgatec questa famiglia di sedute e schienali caratterizzati forme morbide e naturali e curve di ampio raggio caratterizzano questa armoniosa famiglia di sedute che evoca i ciottoli levigati dall’acqua. I diversi elementi possono essere uniti tra loro in configurazioni diverse, grazie a un sistema di aggancio sofisticato.Okome-alias-nendo-wow-webmagazine

3-wellness-17-wow-webmagazine

Wellness within the Workplace: conference in London (5th September 17).

WOW is media partner of the second edition of Wellness the conference will return to London on 5th September 2017 at Credit Suisse.
Wellness17 encompasses all aspects of Wellness including Mind, Body and Spirit and addresses some of the most interesting and challenging subjects such as the stigma of mental health, taming technology, nutrition, design, talking about Mindfulness, Ergonomics, Work-Life Balance and much more.
WOW followers can Book now at the Super Early Bird rate and save £100!

Wellness builds on the success of Unwired’s Worktech series of conferences. Following a session at Worktech London with an emphasis on People & Wellness, Unwired really struggled to trim down the raft of extensive research to accommodate just a matter of hours. When post event feedback from that session was so favourably received, they decided that there was merit to having a specialist conference on that very topic alone.

WELLNESS-LOGO17 copia

Wellness in its broadest sense encompasses Mind, Body and Spirit. We will continue to build on the foundations of Worktech to further explore all the facets that affect Wellness within the Workplace, from the impact of technology, job design, best practices.
Core themes for this year’s event include confronting mental health issues, enriching employees through mindfulness activities, defining best practices, adapting to changing work environments, creating healthier workplaces with an emphasis on people, design, body and health.
The conference will explore key influencers of work depression such as stress and workplace bullying, examine key tools for providing a healthy work-life balance and how to ‘switch off’ from stressful jobs as well as facing challenges of gender equality and diversity at work.
With the cost of recruitment ever rising, it is the smart companies that are looking at cost of their Human Capital, and ensuring that by providing not only a destination workplace but by investing in the wellbeing of their staff they will recruit and retain the very brightest talent, increasing profitability, by not only engaging staff, but by reducing costs to the business due to ill-health or recruitment.

Mind
Astoundingly, one in four, 25% of the population, will be affected by Mental Health at some point within their lives.  With the increase of smartphones, the line between work and leisure time is becoming ever more blurred, it makes sense that this is set to increase. Employers need to be smart on their governance of staff, to identify those working long hours, or that are showing signs of an unhealthy work balance. We will identify how companies can utilise simple cost effective strategies to enhance the workplace and encourage both emotionally literate, and emotionally resilient staff.

Body
It will be explored how job design can improve both emotional wellbeing within the workplace, and improve physical health. Ergonomics – with the rise of Bring Your Own Device to work, and smart working, are we laying the foundations for a RSI epidemic? We will address these issues along with how the furniture that you use at work can help you focus and be more productive.

Spirit
Mindfulness, everybody’s talking about it, everyone’s doing it, there’ve even a parliamentary initiative about it!  How do we incorporate the proven benefits within the workplace, and help ground staff and provide this invaluable tool to increase emotional resilience? The effects of having engaged staff can be profound and communication strategies throughout the business can provide the key. There is a wealth of activities that can positively influence wellness of employees, from art to choirs, table tennis and social networks – we will explore these, along with some of the more quirky, and question, what can you do and why should you do it.

wellness-16-wow-webmagazine

Hosted at Deloitte Auditorium, Wellness made it’s successful debut in 2016 with over 150 senior professionals attending the event. Key Speakers included Andy Gibson, Author and Founder, Mind Apples Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, Author Dr Craig Knight, Director of Haddleton Knight Sally Boyle, International Head of Human Capital Management, Goldman Sachs Carl Honoré, award-winning writer and author of internationally best-selling book, In Praise of Slow and many others.

2-wellness-16-wow-webmagazine

Hoofddorp, 19th of March 2017 – Plantronics office. Photo: Mats van Soolingen

The sound of Smart Working.

Acoustics, technology and design: after the opening of their italian headquarters, in the offices in Hoofddorp (Netherlands) Plantronics experiments the efficacy of their own product in creating a smart working environment.  An opportunity for the company  “to bring to life our vision for the modern workplace”, as the president Joe Burton says.

Situated in the innovative Park 20|20 in Hoofddorp, the architecture firms William McDonough + Partners, N30 and Gensler, conceived the Dutch offices of Plantronics as an acoustic showcase that accommodates various employee work styles, in a symphony of sound layers that make possible for diverse activities to take place simultaneously with minimal disruption, including hallway meetings, pop-up brainstorms, quiet concentration, video conferences, even product testing.

Hoofddorp, 21th of March 2017 – Plantronics office. Photo: Mats van Soolingen

The noise management is based on the copany’s technology and research, from active acoustic management to headsets that help employees easily and comfortably work anywhere, and on the natural sound of the water:  three waterfalls act as a complementary visual aid to the audio overlay of a babbling brook that can be heard from the speakers. This allow to reduce the intelligibility of background noise, following a biophilic way of designing.


The building, as the entire park 20|20, is build following a “Cradle-to Cradle” design approach that allow to easily disassemble the building in case of need, and it is made entirely with recyclable materials. The attention to the environmental and energetical sustainability worth the  BREEAM certificate at Excellent level: from solar panels, designed to harvest at least a quarter of the building’s required energy, water systems that include greywater harvesting, filtration, cleansing, and reuse, and also carpets fabricated from recycled fishing nets.

Hoofddorp, 19th of March 2017 – Plantronics office. Photo: Mats van Soolingen
Gensler has also created an exhibition space where the company’s innovation can be tested and shown in action with an interactive sound table that shows the impact sound has on people’s daily lives, and a sound chamber where visitors can learn how Plantronics analyzes the impact of sound levels to help create its headsets.
“In designing the Expo space, our aim was to integrate the Plantronics story with their technology innovations, to create a narrative and provide an informative journey through the space,” said Milena Jovovic, design director at Gensler. “A holistic and immersive experience, consistent with the overall design of the building.”
Text by Gabriele Masi.
Pictures by Mats van Soolingen.

Hoofddorp, 19th of March 2017 – Plantronics office. Photo: Mats van Soolingen

plantronics-italia-offices-wow-webmagazine-lounge

Home Sweet Office Home: Plantronics’ offices in Italy.

Plantronics will open on April 6th its new offices in Italy at the LEED Platinum Energy Park building -by Garretti Associati– in Vimercate, close to Milan: a 400 sqm space to experience smart-working now and into the future, where the concepts of “work elsewhere” and “work-life balance” lend greater comfort and harmonized mind-body ergonomics to the environment.

Plantronics, pioneer in Wearable technology, was one of the first firms to theorize and implement smart-working, but our work and life styles have changed a lot in the last few years.
I need an office, but I don’t want an office” Daniele Andriolo, Global Manager of Facilities and Workplace Services di Plantronics, asked to architect Daniela Carta, founder of MQA Metro Quadro Architetti and her team -Irene Pacioni and Marianna De Vivo architects. They accepted the challenge.

plantronics-italia-offices-wow-webmagazine-Gaming 02

The concepts in the lead just a few years ago are no longer relevant and the key words pinpoint the current trends of the creative jobs: Liquid Worklife, Café Co-Working, Pop-Up Workplace, Hacker Culture, Meetings Without Borders, fino a Fighting the Tech Fatigue and Wellness is the New Green.
The result is a non-office-office, designed as a welcoming and comfortable Great Place to Stay.


“We were fascinated with the idea of opening fluid spaces so that everyone feels right at home, welcome, thanks to a comfortable and flexible environment –quoted Ilaria Santambrogio, Country Manager Plantronics Italia– the Italian headquarter is today an open office, designed to host customers, partners, resellers, so that everyone feels at home, thanks to the comfort and flexibility of the spaces”.

plantronics-italia-offices-wow-webmagazine-Lounge 05

No more rooms specifically meant for concentration, communication, contemplation and collaboration, so the whole environment is suited to be lived in a free, at all times and in whatever manner.
The 80% of the office does not represent the standard office. There are spaces that can be experienced and exploited, in different way, with no fixed positions for the employees.
To encourage the conviviality and the welcoming atmosphere, the office includes several areas: an area with sit-stand desks, a kitchen area, a relaxation area with elegant couches of design and polished wood tables. A unique and innovative concept in the European and global context and not only, which allows to the Italian headquarter to improve the wellbeing of the team, encouraging greater productivity and pursuing its growth goals in the world of the headsets in more targeted manner.


Into the new offices there is not a strict division of the areas, so that employees, guests, partners, customers can experience the Smart Working space in a free way, choosing to work on the table of the kitchen, in the relaxation areas, on one of the tables , scattered in different areas, or in one of the meeting rooms.
During the planning phase, Plantronics highlighted primarily the need of ergonomics and acoustic comfort: each element is an expression of a different way, smart to work. The heigh-adjustable desks (by Sedus) can be changed from time to time.
This reflects the freedom to decide the workstation, depending on the type of activities: focusing, brainstorming, connecting to a conference call.
The whole office presents itself as an open space everywhere, with monitors in each room or blackboards glass on which to take notes during an informal meeting or during a coffee. At level of lighting design, maximum attention also to the use of natural light and use of LED 100% .


The architectural studio has used wood everywhere: in addition the use of sound-absorbing materials makes the environment already soundproofed.
In line with a sustainability choice, Plantronics has selected the Interface modular carpets, made with 100% recycled materials , it reclaims the typical pavement of the European roads.
The kitchen corner includes an authentic italian kitchen, which is also a meeting place, and point of connection thanks to the Watercooler videoconference system, an open window with the other Smart Working offices, with the purpose to favor the collaboration with the colleagues from various European Plantronics offices.
The use of natural materials and warm colors, the high acoustic comfort, the variety of furnishings of valuable finishes and the curved surfaces make the room pleasant and comfortable.
The criteria of environmental sustainability taken into consideration in the planning are most appreciated by employees and guests, whom are received in the central kitchen, where “But first… coffee!” is written in big letters.

plantronics-italia-offices-wow-webmagazine-Kitchen 01

felicità-in azienda-wow-webmagazine

Can the office make us happy?

Happiness has become a big issue in nowadays working environments. From the new ways of working to the design of the spaces and the furniture, physical and mental wellbeing, creativity, interaction, stress reduction, corporate identity are some of the features creating a happier office and therefore a more productive one. A multidisciplinary approach has been used to combine different disciplines as neuroscience, botany, IoT, ergonomics and energy engineering. Is it that enough for a space to create happiness?

Defining happiness can be a tricky task and a lot of definitions have been given so far. Concerning the working environment, as Alexander Kjerulf said, happiness can be determined by two parameters: feeling the best in what we are doing and building a good relationship in a team. On the other hand, someone else considers it a summon of intense and brief positive emotions that we experiment during the day. Both these definitions feat perfectly with the trends that are transforming the office, changing it from a stressing environment to a space that wants to take care of its workers.

01-Starpool_Worplace30-wow-webmagazine

There are several factors that push this changing: the working environment models from the new technology and e-companies, the different needs of the new generations, the new scientific and technological findings that keep on changing the all society and also the need to create a more appealing environment, capable to face the challenge of different workplaces where everyone can actually do his job, outside the office, such as coworking spaces or home.
As long as the office, also our life has changed and, along with it, our time has become more fluid, mixing working time and spare time, creating a new need to better define boundaries: smartworking has brought office in our home, but it has also brought the concept of home-feeling in the office: couches, table football, good restaurant, medical examinations, relaxing methods, playgrounds, and has also brought in all the world in general, opening the building to the city, capturing different instance from science, art, and different cultures. And also the concept of co-working seems now old now: we are, maybe, moving towards co-living.
Since we are talking about a working environment, these features have the goal to increase productivity and creativity: the new paradigm happiness = productivity has focused all the attention on the wellbeing of the human resource, considering design the key to this new happy productivity. Seats, desks, plants, flexible and dynamic furniture, a well-lighted, healthy environment, with informal spaces that always allow to meet someone and feel comfortable. It is a new kind of design, though. It is a hybrid design that has to give a shape to the scientifically and technological always new instance, creating a responsive and interactive space though the IoT.

people-meeting-plantronics-wow-webmagazineSo is it that enough to consider the wellbeing we are creating in the office a way to our happiness?
I think, even though it is undeniable that nowadays office is far better than the gray and has ones someone may remember, there is a risk that I want to point out.
Focusing too much on the physical and mental wellbeing of the individual, we might forget that happiness is a social deal, it is socially defined by every culture and every society has its own way to pursue it. So there are not standard or fixed solutions we can uncritically apply to every working situation.
The office space (allow me this, even if it sounds exaggerate) might become a beautiful golden cage where we get used to having everything we need, so attractive with all his feature that give us continuously rushes of dopamine: can we end up totally absorbed by the office?
Happiness is a matter of work-life balance and linking happiness to work it’s a risky business.
Although the innovations that will be present at the Salone Ufficio 2017, where the happiness topic will be present in the installation Work 3.0 – A Joyful Sense at Work, are a real breakthrough in the office design, a question is now aroused: an human-centre office will cause an office center kind of human?
Editorial by Gabriele Masi, anthropologist and journalist.

happiness

microsoft-citta-wow-webmagazine

What are the employees’s most desired benefits and services?

Is there a change of trend under way as far as benefits and services companies are offering to their employees? Let’s reflect upon the manager’s awareness of the staff’s actual wishes and the strategies of companies such as Microsoft Italia, now moving from the perfect, well-served campus outside the city to the new and beautiful offices downtown Milan, however with “no services”

So far, every company aspiring to the role of best workplace relied on benefits and services for the workers, becoming a sort of “mum-company” taking care of her babies: besides free organic food and the “butler” taking care of the staff’s mental and physical wellbeing, there is also a commitment to promoting a healthy life style.
The offices are wonderful sub urban architectures surrounded by nature (for instance Technogym, Tetrapak, Elica, Diesel, Loccioni), work-life balance oriented headquarters, micro-cities offering services such as day nursery, restaurant, fitness center, garden, theatre, doctor’s appointment and more.
Perfect workplaces, but…
However the survey by Oxford Economics and Plantronics studied what workers want from their office environments, and what managers need to do to enable the highest satisfaction and productivity from their people. First of all workers just want to work and sometimes managers don’t see the problems.
It raises doubts, which is more important than a supply of more “optional” services.

3-microsoft-citta-wow-webmagazine

Microsoft Italia seems to be taking this path by leaving the fully-equipped campus to take its employees downtown and to a beautiful architecture (by Herzog & De Meuron for Fondazione Feltrinelli) and working environment meant for the highest level of comfort.
There are several break rooms and a kitchenette and cafe machines on every floor, yet no restaurant, nursery or gym. However all services are available around here, downtown.
To make up for it, even the public can stop and try the new technologies, play and work on the ground floor, and a lab is available for schools.
An about-turn compared to the usual pattern: Microsoft entering the city is an entry in every respect, meaning relations, involvement and services not only for their workers but for all residents.
A new mission statement, an osmosis with the vibrant town, even the employees are certainly proud of.
Editorial by Renata Sias, editor WOW! Webmagazine

2-microsoft-citta-wow-webmagazine

The pictures show the new Microsoft Italia headquarters in Milan.