NOW Oliver Wyman Headquarter

NOW Oliver Wyman Headquarter

Architect
DEGW
Location
Via Broletto, 16, Milano, Metropolitan City of Milan, Italy | View Map
Project Year
2019
Category
Offices
Dario Tettamanzi

NOW Oliver Wyman

DEGW as Architects

A new project for DEGW (combining a real understanding of design with technical expertise)to relocate Oliver Wyman, an American global consultancy company with over 60 offices in 27 countries, from Piazza San Babila in downtown Milan to their new workplace in Via Broletto, still in the city centre.

 

Oliver Wyman’s new offices are located in a small building complex composed of two constructions from different periods (the 1960s and late-1980s) at no.16, ViaBroletto. The complex designed by Quattroassociati has brand-new aluminium and glass curtain facades to ensure the workplace is as brightly lit as possible. When designing the new facades, attention focused on reinterpreting the old façade (protected due to its historical value), whose most iconic traits and features were renovated and restored using cutting-edge materials and technical solutions. The old courtyard was converted into a garden and made both visible and accessible from Via Broletto. This part of the architectural redevelopment programme was of crucial importance for the subsequent design work carried out by DEGW, the Lombardini22 Group brand focused on workplaces (set up to cater for new ways of working and changes in workplaces).

 

The offices in Via Broletto form one smoothly flowing workplace designed to bring out people’s full potential and offering a choice between a combination of enclosed and open spaces, both capable of providing the necessary confidentiality and privacy and possibility of cooperating and working as a team. Over 125 people work on the two floors of offices (the second floor with a terrace overlooking the courtyard-garden and part of the third floor).

 

The focus of the project is an innovative work model chosen with and for Oliver Wyman: desk sharing. One of the strengths of desk sharing is the greater flexibility staff and fellow workers enjoy in choosing exactly where to work. With this in mind, desks are not assigned to just one person, nor are they cluttered with papers and personal items. There are various types of desks, so staff can choose the ideal solution for their requirements on any given day: they can work on standard rectangular desks or roundtables with high or low tops.

 

Sharing encourages cooperation and breaks down barriers. Moreover, since no workspace is assigned to any one person, staff are free to move around, thereby encouraging new relations and teamwork. This means great attention is focused on personal initiative, which is enhanced and encouraged through an ongoing people management process aimed at motivating every single member of staff.

 

That is why the new Oliver Wyman offices have an extensive range of sharing/working areas incorporating greenery to enhance the well-being and comfort of people working there, along with 11 meeting rooms of different sizes and catering for different work methods.

 

The fully-domotic workplace is focused around comfort, as epitomised by the new ceiling materials and an innovative diamond-patterned carpet customised in the company’s colours and logos.

 

Staff well-being is guaranteed by special attention to acoustics by the Atmos team, Lombardini22’s business unit dedicated to business physics. After studying the existing situation, acoustic ceiling panels and high-performance double-glazed (12 cm thick) walls were installed. The wooden ceiling panels in the kitchen are made from innovative black-coloured Celenit acoustic panelling. These sound insulation panels are made of mineral fibres of fir bound together using Portland cement.

 

Workplace Change Management
Conscientious that “preparing” workspaces for people is not enough and that the people themselves need to be prepared for their new workspaces, DEGW worked with FUD to carry out an in-depth change management operation, because change is a journey not a destination.

 

The first step in this process was to identify so-called‘change agents’: people chosen  to be informed first about the distinctive features and traits of the new offices and be involved in some of the decisions taken, so they can then pass this information on to other staff. Change agents study the project guidelines and promote them enthusiastically. They are well-informed about the distinctive traits and basic features of the project so they can explain them to everybody. They are available to answer questions, handle feedback, contribute to change, and guide their work colleagues through the transition process.

 

Two meetings were held with the change agents followed by a trip to the building site together with all the company staff. These workshops, carried out by the DEGW team together with the change agents, focused on the joint development of two key parts of the new office: the reception and meeting areas.

 

More specifically, as regards the reception, work focused on the importance given to this place (a simple means of welcoming people, a place for teamwork, an ancillary area for guests and staff) and on its distinctive mood and feel (high-tech, green, industrial).

 

As regards the meeting areas, a workshop organised like a game (complete with a board and pieces) was used to set the stylistic mood of the spaces and the most useful layouts for staff to ensure these spaces are put to the best possible usage.

 

Having a ‘work-setting menu’ available in Oliver Wyman’s future offices meant thateverybody taking part could help decide which critical points, opportunities and rules of usage should apply in the ancillary and work areas, sharing useful tips and suggestions for participated design work.

 

Alessandro Adamo, the director ofDEGWand a partner at Lombardini22, explained the importance of Workplace Change Management: “Change management plays a decisive part in changing offices and spaces, because people are not resistant to change but they are resistant to being changed. People, who are involved from the very beginning to various degrees and extents, take part in workshops and other activities so that fear of change can be turned into enthusiasm, allowing them to begin experiencing the new spaces before they actually enter them physically and teaching them how to approach them.

 

We work out how to use the spaces together with staff, setting guidelines that are not enforced from above but shared according to their needs and expectations”.

 

The naming of the new office was also a shared process involving a workshop headed by FUD, the Lombardini22 Group brand focused on communication and branding. The workshop was used to identify the most powerful ideas representing the brand, drawing up a list of keywords. A mental map was used to explore new concepts, making free associations of ideas. New scenarios were envisaged that fitted in with the company and its values. These studies led to some new suggestions for names for the new office. They included NOW - an acronym in Italian for “We at Oliver Wyman now”. A simple and easily understandable word encompassing an entire world as the past and future come together in the present.

 

In conjunction with the workshops and guided tour of the building site, the process also involved sending regular newsletters to the staff. An information/involvement campaign was also carried out in the form of stickers placed at strategic points in the old offices (before the move) to encourage people to take on board new habits as part of their daily routine. Good practices and habits linked with sustainability and environmental friendliness. In accordance with the communication goal, these stickers were made from zero-impact sustainable materials. The stickers were the start of a change process focused on sustainability: the means is the message.

 

In conclusion, everybody was given a welcome book on their first day in Via Broletto: a handbook providing useful tips and welcoming staff to the new offices.

Read story in Italiano

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