At Europa Group, the leading organizer of international conferences, flex office was the logical next step after remote work for the 300 employees in Paris and Toulouse. In just two years, the teams have adapted: from 100% remote work to the gradual return to the office, via the introduction of flex office.
So how did Europa Group manage to rise to the challenge of the flex office and serenely move beyond the traditional use of its offices?
Manon Weiler, Executive Assistant, is responsible for the implementation and day-to-day management of the flex office. Find out from her how Deskare is helping Europa Group to meet its hybrid challenges and get all its employees on board with this new office lifestyle.
In terms of work organization, for Europa Group as for many companies, there was a before and after March 2020. With the health crisis, teams switched to 100% remote work overnight.
The events sector was hit hard by the crisis. Europa Group's offices remained closed for a long time. At the time, Europa had two offices in Toulouse, in addition to the one in Paris. Fortunately, one of the Toulouse leases was coming to an end, providing an opportunity to limit the effects of the crisis by reducing real estate costs, the number one expense item for companies.
After a year, Europa Group's management realized that the objectives had been met and that remote work was working. Questions then arose: are employees being asked to return to the office? And at what pace?
Before March 2020, employees were entitled to two fixed days of remote work, Tuesday and Thursday, conditional on seniority. "What's next?"
An evolution of the old model was necessary. Europa Group seized this new opportunity to bring teams together, continue with hybrid working and embrace flex office, as 59% of companies said they were ready to do, according to a JLL survey (2021).
"After a year of remote work and objectives met, we didn't want to ask teams to return to the office Monday to Friday. In the end, we didn't rent new premises, instead reconciling remote work and flex office."
After consultation with employees, the works council and a test phase, the flex office was adopted. Europa Group quickly needed an easy-to-use tool to help it manage its new work organization and meet its four main challenges:
The success factor in the deployment of the flex office was the involvement of employees: everyone was consulted to come up with initial ideas!
"Our hybrid policy is very flexible and adapts to different teams, so it's important that managers are involved in the implementation of flex office to support their employees and feed back any concerns or requests to us."
Gathering the feelings of all concerned enabled us to: note the attachment of teams to the flexibility granted by remote work, respect the work/life balance (free choice of remote work days and saving time spent in transport) and maintain team offices without depersonalizing workstations.
What about the CSE?
Its role is consultative: it must be informed in advance of the reasons for choosing the flex office, as specified by the Health, Safety and Working Conditions Commission.
"Deskare helps us get to know our employees better so we can meet their expectations!"
To support and facilitate the implementation and day-to-day management of the flex office, our platform has been adapted to the needs of Europa Group. Deskare is a tool that offers several possibilities:
"Deskare helps us to get to know our employees better, so we can meet their expectations: which days they prefer to come in and how they organize their work. The app allows me to see that the office occupancy rate on Tuesdays is 90%, and that we're soon going to run out of space on that day. I rely on managers to encourage employees to come to the office on other days, or to change space if the team office can no longer accommodate them in full!"
Deskare analyzes employee habits (days present, use of space) to help : (re)arrange offices, schedule actions when people are in the office, create a movement towards the office and make employees want to come back, by proposing events on off-days.
By analyzing the data directly from Deskare, Manon observed that even the departments most resistant to flex office were beginning to mix and change their habits. Such was the case with theIT team, who were not in favor of sharing their desks. However, it was possible for the whole company to reserve workstations on Deskare.
Naturally, employees moved in next to them, in their historic office. They realized that this department was very busy (e-mails, calls, messages on Teams). Together, they came up with a ticketing system to direct requests to the IT department.
"Thanks to the flex office, teams mix and employees meet and exchange ideas. Talking to people we didn't talk to before is very positive for the creation of social links and productivity: good ideas are born from informal discussions. Mentalities are slowly but surely changing!"
When employees gradually returned to the office, before Deskare was deployed, a board at the entrance to the premises was available for those present to write down their first name. This was the only way to know if someone was in the office.
"With Deskare, we get back the user-friendliness of the presence board at the entrance to the office, and the rules are clear and known by all."
When the offices reopened on a larger scale, the time table gave way to an integrated tool, accessible at any time, from any location. Everyone has visibility of their teams' schedules, and can organize themselves accordingly if necessary!
When asked:"What motivates you to come to the office?", Europa Group employees answer:"convivial moments, sharing and informal discussions". So it's only natural that part of the office has been redesigned to create an additional convivial space.
1. Consult your collaborators: A MUST
Upstream, it's important to talk to your teams to ensure better adoption, without breaking habits overnight. Conducting an internal survey is an easy, quick and useful first step!
2. Take it one step at a time, so as not to rush you
Don't hesitate to organize a test phase and make an evaluation after three or four months to observe what's working, what needs to be improved, and to ask yourself (re)questions regularly.
3. Keeping employees involved
Regular consultation with teams is a reflex to keep in mind. Involved employees are bound to thrive in the new office organization. Take the temperature and dispel any doubts with a new internal survey, discussions with managers or a working group on a specific topic.
4. Federating through ambassadors
It all depends on the context and organization of each company: the teams in charge of QWL, HR or management are your best allies!
To find out more: download the Europa Group case study summary
Thanks to the involvement of employees and the use of the Deskare platform, Europa Group can guarantee a workstation for every employee, optimize spaces, encourage collaboration and boost productivity. The adoption of flex office has also enabled financial savings to be made, while providing a better employee experience.
Deskare can help you optimize your hybrid work organization and space utilization. Shall we talk?