Employee preferences for WFH means workplaces need to utilise office spaces as a tool to connect with staff. In Better Workplaces, AdNews looks at how agencies use office design to entice staff to come in and create a company culture worth staying for.
In the heart of Sydney’s maritime ports, Clemenger Group's agencies occupy three levels in the heritage-listed Pier 8/9 on Walsh Bay wharf.
The wharves were originally constructed in the early 1910s to handle essential cargo, specifically wool, during Sydney's industrial trade boom and connected the city with the rest of the world for decades.
While many of the surrounding wharfs were redeveloped for residential housing, Pier 8/9 maintained its historic design with heavy timber columns and commercial character with a handful of other agencies sitting next door.
Pier 8 exterior.
Designed by architectural firm Bates Smart in 2018, Clemenger's office design nurtures creativity and empowers collaboration says Gina Crabb, people and culture director of Clemenger Group.
With around 300 employees from across Clemenger BBDO, CHEP Network, Porter Novelli, Traffik, LEVO, Hall & Partners and Creative Activation the architecture is designed to support fluidity depending on the sizes and needs of the agencies.
"My favourite aspect of ‘The Pier’ is its ability to eliminate a feeling of hierarchy and driving a real sense of community, through its seamless architectural flow," Crabb told AdNews.
"The agile space invites our people and our clients to voice their ideas and contribute to solving important challenges.
"Everyone feels as though they can contribute to the identity of the space, which not only makes them feel valued but empowers them to continue creating best-in-class capabilities in a way that works best for our agencies and clients."
Main foyer, town hall.
Casual breakout areas in the foyer.
“While embracing modernity and new technologies, our workspace does not forget its heritage with the original heavy timber and exposed red iron still embedded throughout the building,” Crabb said.
“The environment is purposefully designed to foster a true sense of community among each of our agencies, but has equally delivered outstanding opportunities to drive connection with our clients when they are at our offices."
The central communal hub (pictured above) with a fully equipped kitchen and dining space is also key to creating this environment.
Inside kitchen overlooking the foyer.
While each agency has a dedicated space across the offices, each team sits within close proximity of each other in the open plan to drive a culture of inclusivity and cross-agency collaboration.
“Each agency is committed to creating an environment that best suits the professional and personal needs of their people and we believe our office is set up to best empower learning and growth,” Crabb said.
Casual meeting area.
The space also inspires people to work in a way that best suits them, whether they are at a desk, in a meeting room or working in the offices' myriad of ‘break out’ zones.
More desks and casual break out space.
“While we have dedicated meeting rooms, we have also invested in numerous sound-proof booths which are a terrific alternative for those seeking a noise-free environment for deep work," Crabb said.
“This also recognises that after the pandemic, people want to be able to better integrate their work and home lives. No one wants their colleagues listening in while they make a dental appointment.”
Noise cancelling booths.
Main conference room.
Smaller conference room.
Aside from desks and meeting spaces, the office also has great surrounding areas which are great for ‘walking 1:1 meetings’ – keeping the steps up while collaborating is always a win.
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