On March 16th, Billennium opened a new office in Olsztyn, created according to the idea of an “office of the future”. This modern space responds to the challenges of the hybrid work model, which gained popularity both in Poland and abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As an internal survey of Billennium employees revealed, nearly 47 percent prefer the hybrid model because of the need to connect with people, and 31 percent want to work in an office because of a more comfortable workstation. Only one in four respondents indicate a total remote model.
The COVID-19 pandemic has redefined existing office work models. As shown by the survey conducted in October 2021 by Pracuj.pl, after the period of forced remote work, 65 percent of Poles returned to the office and 24 percent chose the hybrid mode. This form of work is preferred to varying degrees by as many as 66 percent of employees in our country, but they do not always have the opportunity to do so. What’s more, as many as 69 percent of respondents indicate that they are more likely to apply to organizations that leave the choice of a workplace to their employees. Similar conclusions result from an internal survey conducted by Billennium during the pandemic.
We surveyed 690 employees – nearly 25 percent of respondents said they wanted to work remotely altogether, and about 64 percent said they wanted to use the office to varying degrees. Among the supporters of hybrid work, 47 percent choose this form of work because of the need for contact with people, 31 percent because of a more comfortable workstation, and 34 percent working in the office means improved work-life balance. Based on survey results, we have decided that our employees can decide themselves about the form and place of their work. To encourage them to use our offices, we had to create a real alternative for them, i.e., provide high comfort for individuals and teamwork as well as space for group interaction. This is how our “offices of the future” are created in Olsztyn, Warsaw, Lublin, Białystok, or Mississauga in Canada – says Ewa Goska, Office Manager in Billennium.
Office in Olsztyn with hybrid work in mind
Billennium has been present in Olsztyn since 2015 and today it already employs more than 150 people there. The company currently employs more than 1,700 people across seven locations in Poland, Malaysia, India, Canada and Germany. Drawing conclusions from the survey results, the company decided not to abandon its offices but to bet on a form in line with the latest trends in creating a workspace. In this way, Billennium created the concept of the “office of the future” – a place providing flexibility in space adaptation, high comfort and freedom to work while providing space conducive to building new relationships and team integration. The latest result is the new Billennium office, located at 21 Dąbrowszczaków Street in Olsztyn.
High comfort and freedom to work
Office in Olsztyn occupies 725 m2 and provides space for 30% of people employed in the branch. Its space can be freely and quickly modified depending on the current needs of the company and the expectations of employees. Freedom and high comfort of individual and group work are provided by, among others, acoustically isolated, mobile 2- and 6-person cubicles and telephone booths. Positive impact on employees’ health has 24m2 of green vertical walls, which act as a generator of clean and humidified air. An important element of the “office of the future” are also shared spaces, which provide what is mostly missing in the case of remote work – the possibility to integrate and meet with teammates in other conventions than project work. For this purpose, we created a multimedia chill room, perfectly isolated, with an area of 35m2, as well as a cafeteria space with an undefined arrangement of furniture, equipped with a bar with a professional coffee machine.
When designing the office, we were primarily interested in building a space where everyone, even the biggest fan of working from home, will want to come from time to time to work in a group, have a teleconference with a team dispersed in other parts of Poland and the world, or drink excellent coffee or play table football with colleagues. Therefore, the office in Olsztyn is a space created for hybrid work, and its challenges, namely interpersonal contacts – adds Ewa Goska.
The idea of the office of the future
The office of the future is a place providing high comfort and freedom of work, allowing for great flexibility in adaptation according to the needs. Companies often use hot-desk solutions to optimize space and create the best possible conditions, i.e., places not formally assigned to employees. It is also important to provide facilities supporting various types of activity, such as multimedia solutions, excellent IT infrastructure, acoustic insulation of rooms or application of innovative office solutions.
To encourage employees to return or come to the office, the company must provide an environment that is better than remote working. While many people have been able to make the best of their home space, there can always be some inconveniences, such as an unergonomic workstation, noise, or overloaded infrastructure. So the office must be an ANTI-DOM – a space carefully thought out, giving many opportunities for a quick arrangement of rooms depending on the needs of the day and ready for any challenge – comments Dominik Kopczyński, the architect responsible for the project and its implementation in the Billennium office in Olsztyn.
Despite the changing reality, the office will continue to be an important part of the company’s life. A large part of the employees still choose to work in a stationary or hybrid model, but their needs and expectations regarding office space have evolved. As a result, changing the approach to designing office space has become a necessity – now it’s the quality and comfort of the workplace that counts, not the number of desks and cubic capacity of the space.