Every client is special and has different goals in terms of their workspace. We are happy to provide a wide range of professional services, that help them to develop as a company. We love what we do and we also love the fact that, thanks to our work, solutions and services, we can assure full assistance and successful completion of projects. Take a look at how the process of the transformation of the PURO office in Warsaw went in this interview with Siren Knudsen, Head of Digital Transformation, Operative Optimisation and ESG in PURO Hotels. Puro Hotels office is located in Q22 building (owned by Invesco). You will find out how extraordinary this brand and company is. The project and the interview was conducted by Karolina Adamiak, Senior Tenant Representation Consultant within JLL’s Office Agency.
KA: Could You please tell us more about how PURO Hotels has developed through the years in Poland?
SK: Our adventure has been going on for over 11 years. We like to say that PURO isn't just a hotel, it is a way of life. We always wanted to be a hotel brand where the local community and travellers can connect, share, explore and inspire. Each of our hotels is unique, we don't have a single hotel pattern that we repeat and we never did. What has always distinguished us from other hotel brands is our special attention to detail, upscale design and art. We’re a Polish brand with Scandinavian roots, but in the next two years we’re going to have our first hotel abroad, in Budapest. This and another two hotels in Warsaw, shows how much we have developed in recent years.
KA: What was the reason you started to look for new solutions for PURO’s office space?
SK: Our employees really felt that they needed more communal space and special zones for different type of work. To spend time together, to eat lunch together, to share thoughts, to make brain storming meetings and to have a quiet oneonone moment. There was also one undeniable fact – there was no PURO spirit in our office. Therefore, we had to dive into a new arrangement of the office and listen to the variety of needs of our team. We value the diversity of our team members, and consequently it was important, that everybody feels good in our space. To quote our CEO, Hans Grønnestad “The aspect of enough meeting places cannot be emphasised enough, as this is the reason people come to the office – to collaborate”.
Also due to the hybrid workstyle and frequent travel to our hotels, our desks were frequently vacant; we decided to make more efficient use of the space to:
- Reduce the carbon footprint.
- Provide more informal social space.
- Provide more space for collaboration and meetings.
- Improve circulation and communication between departments thanks to Activity Based Workplace.
KA: Can you give us a short summary, of what the process of rearrangement of the office looked like?
SK: We evaluated alternatives involving moving out, or expanding on the existing floor. Due to the idea of implementing ABW (Activity Based Workspace*) and reducing the total leased area, we carried out a Feasibility study with JLL, which led to a Workplace Advisory project where it was confirmed that ABW was the right way forward. Jakub Zieliński, Head of Workplace Strayegy & Change Management in JLL and Dominika Bartyzel-Oleksa, Senior Consultant helped us to lead the workplace project, in which we needed to arrange the office of 600 sq m for 80 people in total. Several stakeholders in PURO were involved in the project, and the results from the Employee Survey were taken into account during this phase. Based on the conclusions, we finalized the lease negotiations with JLL, and hired Tétris to do the Concept Design and then the fit-out based on Design and Build service.
KA: Did your employees take part in this process?
SK: Yes. It was crucial for us, that PURO employees felt a part of the change. It was all about them and the efficiency of the office space. Heads of Departments participated in a Workplace Advisory project with JLL, where their voices were heard. Both the Design and Development Team cooperated with Tetris during the concept design and fit-out. We kept Team Members informed during the process so that they would know what was in it for them.
KA: What is the most unusual aspect of the new arrangement of the PURO office?
SK: We listened to the Team Members and tried to implement what they had asked for, whilst at the same time we managed to reduce the total office space and merging two groups which were previously located on two different floors. We also took unused furniture from the hotels and involved our internal Design Team to ensure that we had the PURO atmosphere in our office. Our rooms are named after the most classic designer furniture that are located in the rooms. For example we have one named BIRDY (a classic lamp made by Northern Lighting), another MASCULO (chairs made by GamFratesi). We placed local artists’ posters on our office walls, such as Michał Loba, which are also present in our Warsaw hotels. Our team members were really happy to get an office (which is in fact smaller), designed closer to the “PURO” atmosphere than before, with a larger kitchen, several meeting rooms, zones for quiet and creative work, as well as booths; so more effectively catering to their needs.
KA: How would you describe your employees?
SK: Young, dynamic, creative and focused on lifestyle. At the same time, the functions and characteristics are very different for Business Support Teams, Creative Teams and Construction Teams so an Activity Based Workplace gives us a chance to get closer and learn about each other to build a mutual trust and respect for each other’s roles.
KA: Do you feel that the rearrangement of the office space has impacted the PURO employees in a good way?
SK: Yes. We see that the informal meeting place and kitchen is commonly in use, and bearing in mind the size, it allows for several teams to meat and eat or drink coffee together. Moreover, we wanted to achieve a cosy, home-like atmosphere and therefore the office is fitted out in much more aesthetically pleasing way than before. We notice that the frequency is high in spite of the hybrid possibilities. I take that as a sign that our Team Members feel good in the office. The atmosphere is laid back and full of good vibes. In fact, we found that Team Members are more open to change than previously anticipated.
KA: What do you like the most about working at PURO?
SK: It is a young company in growth, hence for a change driven person like myself there are plenty of opportunities for new challenges as well as the opportunity to improve the working conditions for my colleagues through a better workplace and digital transformation.
KA: What do You personally like the most about your new office?
SK: To see that my colleagues seem to thrive here.
KA: You are in charge of Corporate Social Responsibility. How important for the organization was it to recreate the Warsaw PURO office in the most sustainable way for now and for the future?
SK: CSR and ESG lay strongly in the values of our brand. Here are some examples of how we incorporated those concepts into our new office.
- Better wellbeing in more pleasant design and layout.
- More efficient use of the office space, leading to lower costs. We reduced space by 20% in spite of organisational growth of 30% during the transformation period, and created more social areas, which again is leading to a reduced carbon footprint
- Contributing to circular economy by reusing old or unused furniture from the hotels, whilst giving the office a PURO touch.
- Located in Q22, a certified office building (BREEAM Excellent).
- Better communication between departments due to rotation of seating arrangements and a large kitchen.
KA: What are the key values for PURO Hotels as a company and how they are reflected in the office space?
SK: PURO values are: Honest, Playful, Eclectic, Detail, Local. In every step we try to reflect our values to be consistent in our actions. By working on an Activity Based Workspace, it is clear that we have more transparent communication as we are all in the same rooms, the interior design pays attention to details, we are very easy-going and informal, and we are striving for an inclusive environment in spite of our differences. The central location is typical for all our hotels, and so is our office.
KA: What gives you inspiration to work?
SK:A good atmosphere and open dialogue, supporting positive changes and mutual respect for everybody’s contribution to the team.
* Activity-Based Working recognises that people perform different activities in their day-to-day work, and therefore need a variety of work settings supported by the right technology and culture to carry out these activities effectively.