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- Istanbul, Turkey
The smarter the design, the happier the people
Have you ever considered working for the pharmaceutical giant Roche? If the answer is no, you may have a change of heart once you’ve stepped into Roche’s progressively designed offices in Istanbul. As guests are welcomed by employees into one of the “interview rooms,” they will be told that they are allowed only on the first floor. Here, they’ll see employees picking up snacks and drinks while socializing — and yes, even getting work done. The new offices are divided into a perfectly unequal distribution of 70% social and 30% work areas. It’s enough to make curious guests wonder about the forbidden upper floors.
Adding to this curiosity, Roche’s communications manager, Irem Koyuncu, explains that the higher floors, where all the professional magic happens, are full of employees who are happy and relaxed, and who no longer suffer from Monday or Tuesday doldrums. “When we leave the new office at the end of our shift, it doesn’t feel like we had a drab workday,” she says. We have spent time with colleagues, with whom we’ve started to communicate even better since moving into the new horizontal offices in May.”
For Roche employees, work hasn’t always been this way. The company used to reside in a 17-floor, typically hierarchical building — with a department on each floor and the general manager at the top. “In the new office, no one has their own room – even our general manager, Mr. Adriano Treve, who sits three desks away from me,” Koyuncu says. “With this well-planned architectural situation, everybody is approachable and the daily hierarchical stresses are long gone.”
The space is divided such that 70% of the office is social and 30% is devoted to work. What’s more, all three floors are stylishly appointed using USM Modular Furniture (as voted on by Roche staff members), with each assigned its own trademark color. And although the switch from a typical corporate office to a state-of-the-art horizontal workspace didn’t happen overnight, Koyuncu insists that the transition was a smooth one. “Coming here and seeing the positive changes in my colleagues’ moods made me realize something crucial: In order to make a difference in a company’s culture, you have to begin with physical, tangible change.”