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20. April 2023
Built for Purpose: Creating Personio’s Sustainable, Inclusive Amsterdam Office
In June 2022, our Workplace team began a new undertaking: finding, designing, and outfitting a new, Personio-leased Amsterdam office. From the very beginning, the aim has been to create a unique, best-in-class experience for our Amsterdam Personios.
“This is the first opportunity we’ve had, post-pandemic, to deliver something that is truly fit for purpose.” Ciaran Chaney, Head of Workplace & IT, has been leading this initiative from day one. “We set out to create a space that works for everyone, in the way that they want it to work.” And now, less than a year later, the new office is open and in use!
Ciaran and his team started out with internal research, piloting visioning sessions with leadership and gathering input from Personios working in the AMS co-working office. They also took into account Personio’s flexible working arrangement, appropriately dubbed PersonioFlex, that enables our employees to work where they work best.
We embrace an office-led, remote-friendly framework, where our teams can work roughly half of the time in the office, and the other half from a location of their choice: at home, in one of our other offices across Europe, or from most anywhere else in the world.
Given that many Personios choose to work from home (or elsewhere) a few days per week, the camaraderie they can find in the office is a great draw for the rest of the week. In fact, when asked why they come into the office, 89 percent of Amsterdam survey respondents listed social connections and face time with their teammates as a primary reason. All of this meant that the Workplace team was focused on creating spaces that fostered community and connection.
But, of course, the goals are never that simple! Aside from social connection, Amsterdam Personios also listed collaboration, meetings, and individual work as their next requirements – with the number of responses nearly equal across the three. The teams needed phone booths and small collaboration rooms, silent working sections and community spaces, sound-proof areas and team rooms.
As Aidan O’Sullivan, our Senior Manager of Real Estate Design & Construction, puts it, “We knew that our people would need a truly flexible environment with a real choice of work settings, so they have what they need to do their best work.”
The challenge, then, was to create an office that was not just fit for purpose, but fit for multiple, often opposing purposes. “We had to think through these different requirements to build something truly flexible,” says Ciaran. “What is flexibility in an office environment? It’s the ability to cater to the current needs of our employees, while also allowing us to evolve and adapt the space as our company grows.”
To do this, the team partnered with NORNORM, a furniture subscription company that specialises in sustainable, circular office furniture. This partnership allows us to change up spaces within the office as the needs of our teams change – especially as the hiring of those teams becomes more distributed across multiple offices. (And we are hiring, in AMS and our other locations!)
It’s this adaptability that Aidan knew would be key to success: “With NORNORM, we have real agility. We can change the furniture layout on a quarterly basis if we notice we need more focus space for Engineers, or more collaboration space for our Sales teams.”
Sustainability & Inclusion
Of course, flexibility was not the only important aspect for the AMS office build. The team went in with three focus areas aligned with our company value of #SocialResponsibility: health and safety, sustainability, and inclusion and equity.
Working with NORNORM to utilise circular furniture was a big step toward creating a truly sustainable office space. Their tagline says it all: “Fill the office – not the landfill.” Instead of pieces being discarded when a company no longer needs them, NORNORM will repurpose and refurbish them – prolonging their lifespan and keeping them out of landfills.
With a project this important, it is no surprise that we also partnered with workspace design firm M Moser. The company is focused on creating a more sustainable way of living and working, helping their clients and partners to reduce their impact on the environment. The M Moser team provided guidance throughout the project, helping enable a workplace strategy and vision in line with our business and people objectives.
In addition to this overarching project support, M Moser also played a pivotal role in ensuring our offices are inclusive and equitable for each and every individual. We applied universal design standards to increase usability of all spaces, and incorporated elements like height-adjustable workstations, ergonomic features, wheelchair-accessible phone booths, and a wide range of work and social settings for neurodiverse needs.
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The build team has also prioritised local, natural, and recycled materials, as well as pursuing LEED certification, which sets high standards for energy efficiency, water conservation, day lighting, and overall waste reduction throughout the design and building process.
“We didn’t want to be a company that just pays lip service to sustainability and inclusion, but never follows through. On a topic this important, it was crucial to ensure we were meeting – and exceeding – the needs of our team,” says Aidan.
The Office of Now
With hybrid work here to stay in this post-pandemic world, it’s more important than ever for companies to create spaces that add value for their teams.
“At the end of the day, we want to be thought leaders in this space. Personio’s offices should be the gold standard that every company strives to provide for their employees – and we want to provide it for ours.” After all, as Ciaran says, “This isn’t the future of workplace. This is the office of now.”
And so, now, with the Amsterdam office officially open for business, we’re looking for more new hires to fill it. If you’re ready to bring your best and make your mark – in Sales, Product & Technology, Customer Experience, and beyond – head to our careers page and apply today!
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