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By Top Employers Institute
By Top Employers Institute

How the Workspace Can Improve Employees’ Experience

Learning from NN Group’s Design Innovations


The work environment has a huge impact on employees’ daily experience. It is everything that contributes to people’s experience of a physical space - the art on the walls, the floor plan, furniture, communal areas. A pleasant and comfortable office space improves productivity, helps with talent acquisition, and fosters the team’s overall sense of well being. The physical space creates an atmosphere that influences company culture and how employees interact. 

With this in mind, NN Group’s Hungarian office began planning a new workspace to reflect the needs and preferences of its employees and to cultivate an agile way of working. NN Group is a financial services company with offices in 11 countries and an impressive history that spans 175 years. They provide retirement, insurance, and investment services to 18 million customers with a team of 15 000 employees. The Hungarian team spent 16 years in their previous office and welcomed the opportunity for a fresh start. 

Employee feedback was one of the primary inputs guiding the design process. This feedback was gathered through workshops and questionnaires. More areas for collaboration and a more colourful, bright space were among the top requested changes. In response, the new building features large windows and numerous colourful communal areas.

The company also engaged employees with the project in creative ways throughout construction. Through a webcam, team members saw construction happening in real-time. Periodically, a member of the HR team filmed a tour of the construction site. Employees tested furniture options in the previous space, voting for their favourite ones. 

Reflecting the company’s values of sustainability and community was also an important part of the project. The design team reduced water use by including a rainwater collection system to flush the toilets. Positioning the new office near public transportation decreased employees’ reliance on cars. Furniture from the old office space was donated to a local children’s hospital.

The benefits of a thoughtfully designed office space cannot be overstated. When employees like their workspace, they are more productive, energised, happy, and healthy. Many positive ripple effects result. Employees are more likely to refer new potential employees, company performance metrics improve, and employees feel valued. 

 

In addition to these benefits, NN Group Hungary was also nationally recognized for their innovations. The office was a finalist for Hungary’s ‘Office Space of the Year’ competition. See the space and hear more of the company’s design innovations in this video hosted by Krisztina Hársfalvi-Tóth, HR Business Partner for NN Group Hungary.