Case study | Modern space with a family feel for a global pharmaceutical company

Transformation on multiple levels and ongoing support in an end-to end process – these were the challenges in the project delivered by Colliers Define.

Project objectives:

  • Relocation from own building to leased space in an office building
  • Adapting and implementing corporate guidelines, including moving from an enclosed office layout to an open-plan layout and implementing shared workstations
  • Creation of an environment that fits the company context, taking into account both corporate guidelines and local specificities, as well as the diverse needs of the teams

Client context

The client was a company that is part of a global pharmaceutical group specialising in cardiology and employing over 20,000 people worldwide. The branch of the company, which operates in Poland, focuses on research and development, marketing, registration and regulatory services, as well as medical and educational services.

The new guidelines concerning the working environment set out by the company’s headquarters gave impetus for the transformation. These included the removal of enclosed office layouts in favour of open plan settings and the introduction of shared workstations. As Colliers Define, we holistically supported the process of guiding the organisation through this change – from defining the needs, to designing the space, managing the change, and finally delivering the new office space.

Strategy first

At the first stage of the project, our consultants conducted extensive research among employees and managers. This process – which included surveys, interviews with managers and workshops with employees – was designed to determine the extent to which local flavour and needs were aligned with the assumptions underlying the guidelines prepared by the headquarters. The research made it possible to identify key work styles, assess functional needs and diagnose the employees’ openness to change. The result of the research phase was a concept of work environment that fitted in with corporate policy, while taking local needs into account.

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The data collected during the research was also used to plan and carry out change management activities. Given the complexity of the transformation – encompassing both the office location and arrangement, as well as the work style – clear communication on the practical aspects of the upcoming change was crucial. By involving employees in the process, potential concerns were quickly identified and questions that arose were answered in real time.

An organisation is an interconnected system. Carrying out a major organisational change requires consistent action on many levels simultaneously. Focusing solely on the office space will make the change at the behavioural level short-lived, and in turn, the designed environment will not be consistent with the way the organisation functions.

Grzegorz Rajca Associate Director, Colliers Define

From strategy to design

The next stage of the process was the co-design of the new work environment, with the employees. Their input, collected during workshops, was especially important in the area of defining the colour scheme and design of conference rooms or selecting furniture equipment.

The result of this process was an interior design that expresses the company’s family tradition, while maintaining its scientific identity and emphasising its innovative character. The heart of the office is the representative entrance area. Thanks to the furniture solutions, it combines the function of a reception area with a meeting place for employees. This zone is the showpiece of the office, often hosting guests such as renowned professors and specialists.

The work areas have been designed to facilitate the organisation’s transition from an enclosed office layout to an open plan. Wide passageways and a large number of meeting rooms, focus rooms and booths, maximise comfort and provide multifunctionality that responds to the diverse needs of teams.

The subtle design is supported by a focus on detail that tells the story of the organisation. The space shows a skilful balancing of colours, forms and material structures.

The design of the work environment is the language through which an organisation communicates its unique culture and identity. Inviting employees to participate in the design process of the new office allows this uniqueness to be translated into forms, textures and colours. As a result, the new workplace tells a unique and coherent story.

Zuzanna Jaszczuk Senior Architect, Colliers Define

From design to construction

The final stage of the process carried out by Colliers Define was the construction works.

Although the works were carried out on behalf of the landlord, the construction process itself was conducted in close coordination with the client. It was crucial for the client to make sure that everything was going in the right direction and that the assumptions about the new office were being realised as planned. For this reason, there were frequent site visits – both by individuals responsible on the client’s side for the design of the new office, and by larger groups made up of employees, who had the opportunity to see in real time how the guidelines developed in collaboration with them were taking shape.

The realisation of a high-quality office design required appropriate preparation. Precise planning was necessary to ensure that the materials were of the right quality and colour. Bringing in more sophisticated materials required more time, which had to be factored into the schedule early on to avoid delays. Close collaboration with the client’s nominated suppliers of solutions such as archive shelving was also an important aspect of the process. The construction schedule was prepared so that the delivery of these custom solutions could take place before the construction work was completed. This made it possible to avoid delays at a later stage of the project and accelerated the move to the new office.

Comprehensive approach to the process

Colliers Define’s execution of the overall project ensured that the process of going through the change and designing the new work environment was a single, cohesive whole. The designed and delivered office space is aligned with both the goals and priorities of the business and the functional needs of the local teams, and it provides a catalyst for changing the way the organisation operates.

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