Codewise, a hugely successful IT firm that develops cutting edge marketing technology, were named Europe’s 2nd fastest growing company in the 2017 Financial Times 1000 report. The 2000m2 office features some 150 workplaces spread over two floors, while a third floor with space for another 90 employees is currently being added. Characterised by an open plan layout divided into units with different room typologies, the office oozes contemporary cool and playful comfort through a balanced mix of the professional and the personal. There are nine conference rooms, each with their own unique décor, furniture and lighting, as well as luxurious canteens, a game room, a professional gym, a sauna, a yoga room and even a soundproof music room. Employees are encouraged to work out during office hours to maintain a healthy work/life balance and have access to personal trainers, a yoga instructor, massage therapist and a full-time physiotherapist. The interior design was executed by T3 Ateliers in close collaboration with Vitra, and features virtually the entire Vitra product portfolio.
Tomasz Chruściel – Make It Yours
Tomasz Chruściel – Make It Yours
Vitra talks to Marta Konopka
Employer Branding Manager, Codewise
The Codewise office stands out through its unconventional and innovative workspace design, and you obviously attach a lot of importance to the health and well-being of employees. What is the concept behind this?
The basic idea behind the office design came from Robert, our CEO, who wanted to create a place where he would like to work himself. His goal was to establish a work environment where people feel at home and to which they come with a smile on their face, so they do not feel stressed on Sunday evening about having to go to work the next day. For our present and future employees, the scope of duties, development opportunities and organisational culture are of course very important, but the attractive office conditions we provide show them that we also care about their comfort. When we first moved into this building in 2015, we had only 60 employees and we had no idea we would grow so quickly, but now we have nearly 200. Before we started working on the new layout and design, we conducted a survey among the employees to find out what they would like to see in the office. By creating such spaces as a gym and a yoga and massage room, we wanted to give our employees the opportunity to relax and break away from their duties for a moment. They are also free to bring their family and friends and show them our office. By the way, we have recently installed a pole and will soon be offering pole dancing classes as well…
To what extent does the design of the office environment enhance creativity and productivity among employees?
One of our core principles is ‘hire hard, manage easy’, by which we mean that we aim to recruit the best qualified, most outstanding people who know what we expect from them and are responsible enough to carry out their work autonomously without having to be micro-managed. We strongly believe in direct communication and feedback, and we want our employees to be strong team players, that’s why we have chosen for an open plan layout, a work environment where no one — be it an IT specialist, a sales person or a member of the support team — is overseeing the work of another. In IT there are a lot of introverted people, and by offering them this kind of freedom we want to open them up a little. I’ve been with Codewise for almost five years now and I’ve seen how people change here; how they become more open and more confident. We want people to be happy here, as obviously a happy employee is more productive.
In what ways do the office architecture and design reflect Codewise’s brand identity?
We have created a people-friendly office because as a company we are very people oriented. This applies to both our current and future employees as well as to our clients. In business, we focus on simple yet innovative solutions and the same elements guided us while designing the office: functional simplicity with high-end and remarkable finishing elements. We find that Vitra’s products are useful, representative and comfortable and meet these requirements very well. They are versatile enough to take on these multiple identities.
What was the decisive factor in your choosing Vitra?
Again, the idea to choose Vitra came from our CEO Rob. He already had some Vitra furniture at his home and was so happy with this that he decided to furnish the entire office with Vitra. He believes in hiring the best people and he wanted to provide them with the best too — the most functional and aesthetic furniture available.
Have you noticed that specific items of furniture are more popular than others among employees?
Yes, for example the Grand Repos and the Ottoman chairs in our Green room and Sky Rock room, close to the reception desk, are very popular. They are so comfortable, you could fall asleep in them. My personal favourites, though, are the Physix chairs that we have in our Deadpool room. When we had to decide which chairs to choose for our new floor, I immediately knew we had to order more of these. But the most popular item overall are clearly the standing desks, even though visitors or new employees that come to our office for the first time often express surprise at them. When my team temporarily had to move to one of the conference rooms because there wasn’t enough room in the open space, we didn’t have any standing desks there. Instead we had to use our old desks from the previous office. We were told it would be for one month only, but this eventually became three months, and we were very disappointed because we really missed them! Something similar happened when people had to move from the 4th and 3rd floor to 1st floor. They all took their chairs with them because they were so attached to them and to their settings.