So much more than just a new address

After months of hard work on the plans and preparations, the Allreal Group moved into its new head office on Glattpark in Opfikon in the summer of 2020. The eight-floor office building – known as the Lightcube – was implemented by Allreal, having been part of its portfolio of yield-producing properties since its completion in 2007. By setting up its head office at the new site, the company has invested several million Swiss francs into its workforce and cross-departmental collaboration. And its business model has been reinforced along the way too. The new office building is home to state-of-the-art workspaces with all mod cons across a total area spanning over 7,300 square metres.

Allreal is sharing the property with Mondelez, a multinational food corporation that has been leasing space in the building for more than a decade. When the lease for the old office building on Eggbühlstrasse in Zurich Oerlikon was up for renewal and space became available in the Lightcube, Allreal was presented with the perfect opportunity to create a new and modern workplace tailored to the company’s precise needs. As a property company with its very own projects and development division, Allreal has all the expertise and skills required to take on a conversion project of this scale. Planning, implementation, technical building management and operations can all be taken care of by in-house teams.

When it came to implementing an agile workplace concept, Allreal called on WSA, a highly respected provider of modern office and communications infrastructures. This workplace concept centres around the idea that every single member of staff should have enough space to perform their tasks, plenty of room to store their work tools and unrestricted access to the materials they need during their working day. Employees can also communicate efficiently and work together productively, without the office layout standing in the way of their collaborative efforts.

At the new head office, employees are free to find the space best suited to the work they need to do. For example, there are quiet zones on every floor that are perfect for tasks that require deep concentration, whilst other spaces have a more open-plan design, making them inviting to those who need to work in teams and exchange ideas. And yet each employee still has a dedicated workspace of their own available to them. Private offices are a thing of the past – not even the CEO has one anymore. Angelo Moser, Head of Internal Owner Organisation at Allreal and Head Project Manager for the new head office, is a fan of the concept: “The new head office matches the Allreal values perfectly since it allows us to work together and communicate effectively between departments.”

Explore, experiment and think outside the box

The communal break rooms and staff canteen have been a hit from the second everyone moved into the new head office. These areas have an open design, but cleverly positioned room dividers mean that staff can still break off into groups of all shapes and sizes. Friends and colleagues are then free to chat about work or have private discussions over a cup of coffee.

Staff were a little more apprehensive about other parts of the building though ... Take the comfy armchairs with soundproof partition walls and floor lamps on every floor, for example. They are designed specifically for workers who need to pore over a stack of files. But who would dare head for one of these cosy little spots on the first day? People might think you were skiving! “To be honest, some areas still haven’t really been used”, says Angelo Moser. “But the idea is that people will explore the whole building and try out different ways of working. This is our way of encouraging everyone to start thinking outside the box.”

Employee engagement for high levels of acceptance and identification with the new site

An in-house project team was set up for the relocation. Headed up by Angelo Moser, the central team of three took care of everything involved in planning for the new site and organising the move.

However, with all of the requirements of the development, planning and construction departments as well as the various central functions being covered by one team, it was clear right from the start that support from broad, interdisciplinary task forces was a must if things were going to go smoothly. These support networks were joined by people at all levels and from all departments. The decision to actively involve employees encouraged them to come forward with suggestions and ensured that any concerns amongst the staff could be identified and dealt with. Group Management also supported the project through the Steering Committee, which kept the decision-making process nice and efficient.

Moser found the two years of strategising and planning extremely exciting. But planning the new head office did prove to be challenging at times, especially since it was still business as usual. “What we have managed to achieve together as a team here is nothing short of impressive”, says the Head Project Manager. A good six months after the relocation and more or less every employee has positive feedback – even the ones who were sceptical about the move to start with.

The building is just as impressive on the outside. Located on Lindberghplatz, it boasts a modern design featuring a glass front, making it a striking feature on Glattpark and a prestigious head office for the company.

Excellent public transport incentive and electric cars for a reduced carbon footprint

Mobility was the other key area that got just as much air time as the workplace concept. Given that it has its own projects and development division, Allreal employs a lot of staff members who need to be able to get around in their own vehicles. And yet the company is keen to encourage its workforce to make use of public transport. With both of those points in mind, Group Management took suggestions from the relevant task force on board and decided to pay for yearly season passes for the local public transport network as an incentive for the move. With around half of all employees taking Allreal up on this offer, it is clear that the company really hit the nail on the head with this initiative.

As another way of reducing its carbon footprint, Allreal has procured a fleet of electric cars since moving to the head office on Glattpark. All employees now have access to five electric cars, which can be used for business purposes. The cars have been out and about on the roads since the very first day, with staff using them for meetings on building sites, house viewings and other off-site appointments at places with poor public transport connections.