New French Sales Office: open space & close collaboration
It has been a year since our French team moved into a new sales office in Versailles. Find out why and what benefits they enjoy.
A lot has changed in the past few years, including the way we work. Since the pandemic, we have become used to working from home. We network through MS Teams and have most of our meetings virtually. That taken into consideration, and the matter of reinforcing collaborations within the company, the traditional sales office in France no longer fulfilled the needs. A new solution was required.
The new way of work
When creating the new office, one must consider numerous things, especially when everyone is back in the building. In the past, we were located in a three-story office with separated rooms and closed doors. This type of office had its advantages but no longer for us. We want everyone to be able to interact with ease. We also strived for the loneliness to be lifted after the lockdowns and for the team to feel more focused. And definitely, we wanted everyone to feel comfortable.
"The surrounding has an impact on how we feel and work."
The open space of collaboration
"The surrounding has an impact on how we feel and work. We needed something that motivates us all, and that invites us to exchange new ideas", explains Jean François Autret, Regional Sales Manager West Region and Managing Director of the Versailles Sales Office (VSO). "Previously, we didn't even know who was in the office or not, and one could come to work to the office and not come across anyone all day, despite having colleagues working two floors above." The open space office in Montcalm - 2 rue du Pont Colbert in Versailles was the answer. "When you're not together with your colleagues, you don't feel like being a part of the company. And this is where we wanted to counteract and decided to go for an open-plan office", Jean François sums up the situation. "The sense of the group makes it easy to solve problems."
"The sense of the group makes it easy to solve problems."
The fast adaption of progress
An open space can be challenging as well. After ten years of being downtown Versailles, the new working environment also needs the courage of our employees to adapt and accept. "We have faced change management like it is written in the books. Not everybody was embracing the new situation at the beginning. They didn't see what they would gain. They saw what they will lose." Jean-Francois about the new working environment. "But after a year, the advantages of the new office become more evident, for example, the underground car park replacing the random parking in the street is appreciated, particularly on rainy days, the absence of stairs/doors for easier meet-ups and alignments, or the proximity to the motorway and public transportation are undeniable steps forward.”
The inspiring conversation of problem-solving
It is proven that you have a better employee relation with an open space. It is easier to interact with your co-workers regularly. In addition, having breaks and enjoying a meal together increases the social atmosphere. "Most topics during our coffee breaks are business-related. It is an easy conversation with a sparring partner to find a solution if you are stuck with a problem. And I am also happy to hear people sometimes laughing on a break because, let’s be honest, we missed that for too long!" Jean François is sure about the increased collaboration within the teams. Close to 25 employees from the Consumer and Pharma business are working in Versailles. They are all very disciplined about the fact that an open space can also be very noisy. "We have managed to get four small meeting rooms and a big one with a separate entrance. It avoids disturbing the others", the Managing Director explains, "We broke down the walls and see that our people are far more approachable. We are more dynamic now."