After just two months of working in our new ‘PITCH’ building – the first manifestation of adidas’ future workplace concept ‘My Arena’ – I’ve already decided I don’t ever want to go back to ‘normal’.
My department was chosen to move into PITCH to test and develop a new office set-up which will eventually be rolled out to all of our colleagues across the world. Three office suppliers – USM, Bene and Vitra – each equipped one floor of our new building and now it’s up to us to see what really works for us when it comes to furniture and the overall working culture.
I’d like to give you an idea of why I think the concept really works for me.
Ritual or change?
Firstly, to give you a little bit of context, I no longer have my own desk. No one does. I start the day by picking up my laptop from my personal locker before finding a desk for the morning (which is never a problem because there are more than enough for everybody).
At PITCH, everybody clears their desk when they are done, which gives me the freedom of choice to work where I want.
The fact that no one has a fixed workplace – irrespective of hierarchy – means that even my boss sits right there with us.
This has really helped me to move away from the formal meetings I used to have with my boss. Instead, we now have more face time, which actually helps with quicker decision-making.
Today I’ve chosen a desk close to our ‘homebase’ – a central point where our team can congregate – and the ‘kitchen hub’ so that I get the chance to catch up with my colleagues as they arrive.
On other days, I might choose to ‘steal’ someone´s favourite desk or work on a different floor, giving me the chance to get to know people from other departments who I normally would not mingle with.
At the end of the day, we’re all human and it’s all too easy to become victims of our habits. It’s only natural that many of my colleagues (including myself) often choose the same desk to start the day, but this isn’t a problem by any means. The fact that we have a choice, however, makes a difference.
I get what I need
The way the building is laid out also pushes us away from the more conventional way of doing things, with an increased focus on activity-based working. Meetings take up a large chunk of our time. This hasn’t changed since the move to PITCH; however, there’s a big difference when it comes to the availability of meeting rooms and the variety they come in. No longer do I have to search for an available room and walk halfway through the building only to find out that the previous meeting is overrunning, losing time as I wait for the room to clear. PITCH offers meeting areas of all shapes and sizes, equipped with state-of-the-art presentation kits such as wireless presenting equipment or special HD smartboards.
Some rooms even have walls and floors that are like a gigantic whiteboard that you can write on.
One of the best things is that only special project rooms can be booked in advance, so if a space is free, it’s yours to take. After my lunch break I often choose to go to my favourite recreation area, the massage room. Fifteen minutes in one of the massage chairs can really work miracles after lunch or a workout in the GYM. Most importantly, at the end of the working day, I feel less exhausted … and to some point even relaxed; after all, it feels less like a workplace and more like a cosy living room.
“Don’t worry, though: We’re just as productive – if not more so – as we were in our old office set-up.”