Case Study: Manpower, Czech Republic
How Living Office helped Manpower create a human-centered office designed around the needs of people.
Manpower Group offers workforce solutions in order to address the complex recruitment challenges faced by companies today. With over 3,100 offices in 80 countries, Manpower Group connects more than 600,000 people with work every day, across 400,000 clients worldwide.
Based in Prague, Manpower Czech Republic had already considered the layout of their new offices when Jan Bastař, from cre8, a Herman Miller Accredited Dealer Partner got in touch. This area of the business has 60 employees based in an office of 1,100sq metres.
The landlord had already provided a design for the office space which is standard practice in the Czech Republic. However Jan Bastař disagreed with this approach: “I think it’s completely wrong. As a dealer, we need to know the company very well to plan a space that will work for them, for their company culture and for their people.”
Instead, Jan introduced Manpower to Herman Miller’s Living Office concept, which offers a methodology to create a human-centred office designed primarily around the needs of people. In order to accommodate the needs of many people doing different work, Living Office proposes a shift from standardised workstations and meeting rooms to a diverse landscape with spaces to support a range of activities.
A tailored solution
The Living Office approach to office planning resonated with Manpower Group because it put people at the centre of the work place. As Jan Bastař observed: “Manpower cares about how businesses can achieve more through the people – and the Living Office focus is exactly the same.”
Cre8 spoke to the management team at Manpower about their priorities and their culture as a company. They also interviewed all the employees and created a summary of the common needs, which was combined with the management’s view on how the business might evolve in the future.
Following this research, cre8 was able to develop a space plan that reflected Manpower’s style of working. They undertook an analysis of the way the company works, and according to Jiri Halbrstat, Marketing and Communications Manager, produced a space plan “appropriate to how we function, to our mentality and our company culture.”
Creating a Living Office
Across the company, there were a number of key needs which were common – comfort, acoustics, size of workspace and sufficient storage.
As the local dealer, cre8 embraced the challenge to tailor the floorplate to accommodate these needs. For example, the Payroll and Finance teams wanted more desk space. Using a Living Office placemaking approach to guide a response to this need, their area was designed around a Hive setting with AbakEnvironments desks in 120 degree configuration. This accommodated the need for larger desks without using up more floor space.
The meeting room space was redesigned from a traditional layout with a big table surrounded by chairs, to a large central space with small tables and comfortable chairs. The residents in the Prague office have nicknamed it the ‘living room’ as it has an informal, relaxed atmosphere.
The Living Office concept strongly supports Manpower’s business objective of considering the needs of people first, both their own employees, and the clients and candidates they provide recruitment services for. Michaela Neumannová, Business Development Support explained: “People are the most important competitive advantage for companies - more important than capital or anything else. We have to fight for talent and our new offices are part of our strategy to present Manpower Group as competitive.”
The office redefined
For Manpower there have been many benefits to switching to their new Living Office space, not only for individual employees, but also for the business as a whole: Jiri Halbrstat explained: “The main benefits to our business are increased collaboration, flexibility of work spaces. The offices reflect our company branding too – we invite our clients here and we organise press conferences on our premises.”
Jiri continued: “Before we had teams spread across three offices, and there were people that I didn’t know. Now we are mixed and meet on a daily basis. I know things about people who I don’t necessarily work with and I think this increase in trust is very important.”
In addition, there was a financial benefit for the business. By using furniture instead of partition walls to create discrete spaces, there was a saving of around 1.5 million CZK (£40,000).
For Jaroslava Reslerova, Managing Director at Manpower Czech Republic, deciding to use Herman Miller’s Living Office approach was a great decision. “This office is really alive. You see people moving, talking, meeting. It’s a big difference.”