Reprinted from Customer Stories, Steelcase (Part 2)
A look at how Steelcase’s Madrid WorkLife team transformed its workplace culture and space to be more agile and better adapt to client needs.
Being a leader means supporting your team. The new space signals an open-door policy for people to come, ask questions and get answers.”
TEODOSIO MANZANODirector, Marketing & Product Development, Steelcase Spain & Portugal
The leaders find themselves working outside of their dedicated space most of the time. At the same time, teams know that if they need a question answered, they can go to the space and someone will be available to help.
A Space to Experiment
A collection of diverse settings that offers a palette of postures, privacy and technology with a variety of colours, patterns and materials, the Steelcase Madrid WorkLife is now a laboratory where the team can quickly and easily prototype new ideas and solutions. They experiment with new Smart + Connected technology and use data to better utilize the space. The team is also experimenting with different agile methodologies, drawing on inspiration from Steelcase’s IT team in Grand Rapids.
Today, the team is equipped to provide a customer experience that’s more authentic than ever before.
“We’ve created a space where clients and employees are at the center. It serves as a laboratory for them to test and experience new ways of work firsthand.”
GONZALO LORENZODirector, Sales, Steelcase Spain & Portugal
Just half a year after moving into the new space, they’re already seeing big results.
“Because I can choose where to work, I’m collaborating with other departments much more frequently. The relationship is also more natural and direct, and it reduces the number of emails.”
MARÍA JOSÉ SACRISTÁNManager, Order Fulfillment & Distribution, Steelcase Spain & Portugal
Employees and leaders say that collaboration has skyrocketed — even within teams. Despite the absence of department hubs, people feel more connected than ever before. Some have adopted agile-inspired practices like short, daily standup meetings to touch base with their colleagues and set priorities. The hot desking policy created a better environment for networking. Many employees are meeting “new” colleagues that have been working in the same office for years.
“Because I can choose where to work, I’m collaborating with other departments much more frequently,” says Maria José Sacristán, manager, order fulfillment & distribution. “The relationship is also more natural and direct, and it reduces the number of emails. We’ve let go of this idea of belonging to different departments and we all feel like we’re working toward the same goals.”
Leaders are finding that this collaborative culture is leading to the implementation of better, more efficient processes. They are also witnessing an uptick in decision-making, enabling projects to move faster. Meanwhile employees are saying they’re spending less time on emails and solving issues quicker.
In the end, this all equals a better customer experience. And the numbers prove it. The amount of customer visits has increased. With a closer proximity to clients, the team can better understand and address their needs.
“Since moving into the new space six months ago, we’ve managed to improve employee wellbeing and increase collaboration,” director, human resources, Steelcase Spain & Portugal. “If the workplace is the body language of an organization, you just have to walk through the door to see the culture we worked so hard to achieve.”
The employee experience has also witnessed a positive shift. Employees feel more empowered and are starting extra-curricular activities such as running, yoga and cycling clubs. One employee said it feels like “a luxury to work at the Madrid Plaza,” stressing the positive impact it has on their mood and performance.
Just like agile work, the new space will never truly be finished. The team plans to experiment and prototype new ideas and solutions. As the business environment and customer needs evolve, the teams can change and quickly adapt thanks to their new home.
“If the workplace is the body language of an organization, you just have to walk through the door to see the culture we worked so hard to achieve.”
DAVID MARTINDirector, Human Resources, Steelcase Spain & Portugal
Photographer: Montse Zamorano
Designers: Patricia Koszyl, Marta Pita, Luis Güemes and Alicia Serrano
Architects: Maite Sabaté, Jaime Álvarez, Gonzalo Martín, Francisco Antonio González