From fixed workstations to free and not personalized desks, from a work environment organized in a hierarchy to the open space. How can we bring a traditional company into the smart working era? During the second jelly session of WOW! Island Agile Working’s week, Matteo Melchiorri, HR Star and Antonella Grenci by Il Prisma, presented the Star’s new offices in Milano.
Star, the famous italian food industry, has just moved its offices to the new MAC7 center in Milan. The new interior spaces, designed by the architect Antonella Grenci of the firm Il Prisma, were built following the new concept of the “chance encounters” work environment.
“We have chosen an open space without any fixed workstation”, Matteo Melchiorri said. “We didn’t aim to a space optimisation. All the workstations are traditional, but there are no partitions and, as our new paper-less way of working required, the room for archiving was strongly reduced. To help our employees towards this change, we gave to each of them a limited capacity locker (35x60x60cm)”.
What really identifies the project is the strong company’s imprint given to the environment.
“Everyone can recognize our office at first sight”, Antonella Grenci said. “The moquette on the ground is green like a field, and yellow and red soundproof-panels clouds hang on the white ceiling and walls: Star brand’s colors are everywhere”.
A strong architectural element is the agorà, the core of the project.
“The offices’ structure is oval”, Melchiorri explained. “At the centre there is a common space that recalls a familiar kitchen environment, with a kitchen table, a fridge, vending machines, tables and settees. A flexible and multifunctional break area that can be easily used to chill out or to arrange informal meetings. We wanted a space capable to encourage the employee’s socialization. We also have a real and professional kitchen where we organize show cookings and events for the press, students or customers, etc…”.
What is the most important step to lead a company towards the smart working?
Melchiorri has no doubts: “ It is the change managment, a mix of a guidance and the explanation of the sense of the new way of working.
That’s why we had decided to show the different steps of the realisation of the new spaces in a dedicated website and we organized an internal focus group to pay attention to all the doubts and ideas of our people. The fundamental thing is to take nothing for granted and to answer to all the objections”.
As Melchiorri underlines, the transition to smart working is something that needs time and it has to be made step-by-step.
“We are not a totally agile company, but for now we have chosen a more flexible working time, starting between 7:30 to 9:30 and with a free time management during the day. Most of all we have eliminated the clock in system, in pursuit of trust and accountability. In this phase we decided not to allow the home working, maybe in the future…”.
Text by Gabriele Masi.