An office move during a stressful planning period? Now that has all the makings of a horrendous month. But Andrea Rudolf and her team in Corporate Controlling were up to the challenge. With 650 colleagues, they recently made the move to ZF Forum in Friedrichshafen, the company’s new corporate HQ, right in the middle of operational planning crunch time.
But in ZF Forum, Rudolf and her colleagues now have everything they could possibly need to simplify their work: conference rooms for discussions, breakout rooms for confidential meetings with divisional controllers, and more – all of which was implemented as part of the Office 3.0 concept. This marks the beginning of a new era at ZF. For the first time, employees who work in ZF offices no longer have assigned workstations. Instead, the Group has implemented a flexible, non-territorial concept where workspace is shared.
This new setup is nothing like your average open-plan office, however. A tour of the six-story building reveals an exceptionally multifaceted layout. The lounge, with its tables and couches, is almost like a café. There are project rooms with large monitors, as well as the “library:” a quiet area for those who need to work on projects in silence. The generously scattered workstations, each with two monitors, are the closest thing to conventional offices that you’ll find in this building. “Our team is currently working in one of these areas; at other times, we spread out across the entire office space,” Rudolf explains.
A few feet away, a smiley face on a glass door indicates that Rudolf’s head of department is away, and anyone can use his office while he’s gone. And something else is missing, although it isn’t immediately obvious: no nameplates. The desk-sharing policy applies to everyone at ZF. Rather than assigning specific desks to specific individuals, the company has created a comfortable atmosphere that gives employees plenty of freedom and “provides each employee with exactly the type of workplace he or she needs to work most efficiently at that particular moment,” explains Dr. Robert Omagbemi, Office 3.0 project manager.