Vodafone Central: the inside scoop

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Collaboration, community, and communication are at the core of everything Vodafone does. So when the time came to move 1,200 employees into one brand new Vodafone workplace (dubbed ‘Vodafone Central’), they alongside Incorp took the opportunity to make a statement on the future of the workspace.

The Brief

How do you move over 1,200 people into a future-proofed hub of collaboration? That was the logistical and transformational challenge faced by Vodafone once the decision was made to consolidate three existing corporate HQs into one – a challenge that Vanessa Hicks, General Manager of HR for Vodafone, was to tackle from day zero.

“We’ve had our people spread across a number of offices for some time, and it hasn’t been ideal for creating a unified sense of collaboration. We wanted to bring all of our employees into one office – a new space that gave them a sense of pride in the brand, created a new way of working, and symbolised to the market that we are back.”

This decision was backed by extensive research from stakeholders (both internal and external) to inform how future ways of working can be built into a physical work environment, and how to maximise the benefit to Vodafone employees:

“We did a survey to our employees because it was really important to understand what’s important to them – how do they work today, how do they want to work, and how can we create an environment that supports that. We found only 39% of our employees were satisfied with the current office – there was a desire to work in a more collaborative environment, but the current space did not provide that opportunity.”

Designing Vodafone Central

Vodafone approached Incorp to help translate this dream into a reality. Perry Gray, Incorp’s Managing Director, emphasised the core focus was on people, and that understanding their needs was a crucial input into the final design.

“[The brief] was open ended – and that was what excited us. Iñaki (Berroeta, CEO of Vodafone Australia) and the team had this hint of a new future – a new purpose for Vodafone that was kind of mysterious. We really saw this as a phoenix project in terms of celebrating the resurgence of the brand, galvanising the team, and repositioning the organisation to show Vodafone is really going to shake up the industry.”

The focused on four environments that organisations work within to align these values with the overall corporate vision. See galley >>

“The whole idea of activity based working is that as an individual, I’m empowered to make decisions about who, where, when, and in what style of environment I need to work to get the best outcome. I need to be able to find the people I work with best, and I need to be able to sit in the environment that will support that activity in that place and time.”

While still a relatively new concept, the approach is fast revealing benefits: a study from Samsung found that where 28% of Australian organisations employ a form of activity based working, close to 66% will by 2020. The average number of employees participating in activity-based work will increase from 27% in 2015 to 40% in 2020. Some 43% of Australian organisations see smart offices (employing Internet of Things and cloud technology) as the future of activity based working. And importantly, 61% of organisations see activity-based environments as more valuable than a traditional office workspace.

For the full article, visit Vodafone Red Wire blog and experience the interactive tour by Elyse Glenn.