AXA ‘invents’ a new way of working in cooperation with PALMBERG
Imagine the offices of an insurance company: you think of narrow corridors with gloomy rooms and bored administrative staff sitting in front of their computers. Grey is the dominant colour and everything takes place behind closed doors. Insurance agencies are conservative and stuffy - so far the prejudice. A cliché AXA Germany wants to clear up with the major project ‘New Way of Working’. With 700 employees, the insurance group has been anchoring in Hamburg since last October. On around 10,000 square metres in cooperation with PALMBERG, rooms were created that are intended to be groundbreaking for AXA’s working world of the future. The new location, which does not look like a ‘classic’ insurance company at all, is a foretaste of the large-scale project ‘NWoW’. AXA Germany plans to convert all locations to this principle by 2020.
“The employees gave the new location the name ‘Heimathafen’. The anchoring in the ‘home port of Hamburg’ also symbolises the dawn of a new era and a new way of thinking within the Group. Anyone who enters the building will directly feel it,” says Alexander Vollert, CEO of AXA Germany.
Firmly assigned workplaces are a thing of the past at AXA in Hamburg. Instead, the employees look for the workplace within their department that suits their current job. NWoW also implies that every employee is able to work outside the AXA office for up to two days a week, gaining more flexibility and freedom of personal creativity. During this time, digital collaboration tools allow for attending meetings and remaining fully linked to colleagues. In addition, the employees in Hamburg have different options to organise their breaks. Either active on a basketball court and at the billiard table or rather relaxed and in cocoons for power-napping. But even the ambience for the actual work has nothing in common with ‘classic’ office space. Bright colours define the office landscape in the Hanseatic city and the new, open space concept is to help employees break through work routines in order to facilitate cooperation and exchange with one another.
The AXA management set high design and quality standards for the equipment of the newly built headquarters. Most of the rooms are open and spacious, but the new office architecture in Hamburg-Hammerbrock has little in common with classic open-plan offices. Selected furniture from PALMBERG was used efficiently and flexibly in different settings. For creative meetings at tables of the PENSUM series there are ambiences available such as sand dune, local pub or forest clearing. The ‘all-in-one’ area includes standard workstations where you can make phone calls and work on emails, and in the ‘concentration’ area, anyone who wants to work on their own can do this in peace and quiet there. In addition to the new form of cooperation, the topic of health is also closely linked to the future workspace concept of AXA. The electrically height-adjustable desks of the CREW series used at all workplaces play a decisive role in this respect.
The first step into a ‘new working world’ has been taken in Hamburg and is intended to serve as an accelerator for the desired cultural change at AXA.
PENSUM conference table
CREW desks and PRISMA 2 wardrobe
Photographar:Andrea Dingeldein, Köln