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Fostering Work Efficiency Through Design

Country Focus | 20 November 2016

Working in a well-designed office can boost efficiency and creativity. Gert Borrits, President Director of Danish pump manufacturer Grundfos, took this observation to heart when his company moved from Pulo Gadung to a new space in Halim in 2014.

Fostering Work Efficiency Through Design (1) Together with Indonesian designer Ayu Sawitri Joddy, Gert realized his dream of creating a workspace that combines Scandinavian design with Indonesian culture. “Ayu immediately understood what I wanted,” Gert recalls. “We took her to our office in Singapore and also showed her a lot of pictures from our headquarters in Denmark, so she knew what we were looking for.” After only three months, the employees of Grundfos were ready to move to the new premises - and they sure liked what they saw. The bright and spacious reception area showcases a display of Grundfos’ products past and present, combined with water features. A stylish seating area invites guests to sit down while they wait. Inside, the office is characterized by a clean and simple design, allowing a lot of room to breathe, rejuvenate and even socialize. Fostering Work Efficiency Through Design (4) “Scandinavian design means simplicity, and Denmark in particular is very famous for high-quality furniture and excellent design. Most of the furniture here are made in Denmark but some of them, like the meeting tables for instance, were made using Indonesian bamboo,” Gert explains. The working desks and meeting tables are height-adjustable, meaning employees can either stand or sit down while working, according to their preference. “I try to stand for 50% of my working hours,” says Gert who has lived in Vietnam, China, Brazil and Australia prior to moving to Indonesia. “If you stand up a couple of hours every day, it’s the same as if you were working out in the gym for one hour because you spend much more energy standing up than sitting down, and your blood circulation and posture are getting better too.” Across the office, several open meeting areas have been set up, complete with comfortable chairs, encouraging a change of location during the workday. Fostering Work Efficiency Through Design (2) “We have many visitors from Europe and the Asia-Pacific, and many of them actually use these areas as well,” Gert says. In addition to the meeting areas, the office also includes several meeting rooms, all of which are named after different Indonesian islands - being more than just a namesake. “Our Java meeting room, for example, is made from Javanese timber,” Gert explains. “I also wanted to give our guests the chance to learn more about Indonesia when they come here. That’s why every meeting room features information about the characteristics of the respective islands, its flora and fauna etc.” He adds that he also intended to change his company’s business culture - without losing the unique Indonesian culture in the process. Fostering Work Efficiency Through Design (3) “First, I wanted to get rid of this culture of service, with people running around, bringing you coffee and tea,” he says. “I want our employees to go to the pantry themselves to make their own coffee and in the process meeting others and talking to them, rather than sitting at their desks the whole day. It will enhance the work efficiency, and you get a bit of exercise as well.” Gert also changed his employees’ habit to clutter their desks with unnecessary stuff - a decision that some weren’t happy about in the beginning but eventually came to appreciate. “We also threw away a lot of things we didn’t need anymore, like old computers and TVs, marketing material from the 1990s and so on - 40 tons in total!” The office also includes a nursing room with cozy leather chairs and books about childcare that the staff can use, as well as a canteen with an additional lounging area. Grundfos even has its own gym, where the staff gathers for yoga classes every Friday morning. Fostering Work Efficiency Through Design (5) “The purpose of all this was to give my staff a better working experience,” Gert explains. “Some people were wondering why I wanted to invest so much in my employees, but I was thinking that if you want good quality work from them, you should offer a good quality work experience in return.” The innovative office design has certainly helped to enhance the employees’ work performance - but this is not all. According to Gert, Grundfos is also involved in many CSR activities and invest a lot not only in its employees but also the community, by engaging in water projects, organizing blood drives, company outings and family days. “I also organized a weight loss programme over the course of six months to encourage a healthier way of living,” Gert says. “Among the 100 people who worked in this office at the time, we lost 376 kilograms in total.” “All these things combined help with the team building and creates a good work environment,” he concludes.