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Creatif Talks; 'How to Create an Engaging Workspace' with Sudhir Saseedharan

You’d be hard pushed to find someone who hasn’t heard of LEGO. And even if you’ve stepped on it, those bright colourful bricks probably fill you with a warm memory of playing with it when you were younger.

Play is a universal term, yet as adults we rarely play in the same way children do. Sudhir Saseedharan, Global Design Lead at LEGO Workspace, disrupted the status quo by saying “Children are our role models. Be curious and try to see the world through a child’s eyes”. This might seem like a strange view to have when it comes to designing a 54,000 square metre campus in Billund, Denmark, but everything about the building has been approached using the Lego Way of Working (LWOW).

The LWOW consists of these four pillars:

  1. We aim to wow and inspire
  2. We want people to have fun and be playful
  3. We will adapt to everyone’s diverse needs
  4. We will provide a caring home-like feel

Sudhir explained that by following this model, the LEGO campus will become an environment that attracts and retains the best talent. One of the main ways LEGO will do this is by implement a strong trust culture.

No one is expected to work 9-5, come into work every day, or sit at the same desk. Unsurprisingly, the campus will actively encourage playfulness by having dedicated play areas, where people can build LEGO sculptures whilst in a meeting, having a break or catching up with a colleague.

The first floor has been built, home to 500 workers, and the second floor is in the process of being completed. Instead of “rooms” there are “neighbourhoods”, where people can sit wherever they like.

Sudhir commented on how he’s aware that not every workplace can have the same flexibility – there are industries where a consistent work station is essential – however at the Billund LEGO campus people have the freedom to work in any space across the whole building.

The campus itself will have 8 connected buildings, with a public space at its core. There will be a roof garden, and you will have a view of the outside from every seat within the building. This was something Sudhir was passionate about, ensuring that people will have access to daylight and greenery no matter where they’re located.

The floors themselves have been designed with the following in mind:

  • Ground floor – dynamic
  • 1st floor – learning
  • 2nd floor – history
  • 3rd floor – recharge and revive

The idea, Sudhir said, is to make people explore their workspace. When individuals return from maternity or sick leave, they will be given a map to encourage them to inspect their surroundings, meet new people, and feel the fluidity of the space.

It was of huge importance to ensure the Billund LEGO campus was an inclusive environment, with accessible spaces effortlessly woven into the building.

What’s more their graphics have been updated to reflect diversity, showing different ages, ethnicities, and abilities so that anyone who enters the building feels welcomed.

One of the key highlights was that all members of staff were involved in planning the campus. “Communication was key” confirmed Sudhir, “which is why we asked everyone to contribute their suggestions for making the workspace the best it could possibly be.”

A few members of the audience asked Sudhir about productivity levels – have they gone up? “Honestly, we don’t know. We are continually learning, responding to feedback, and looking at ways to improve the building. We’re exploring how to make our quiet spaces better, and how to be more sustainable in the next phases of development.”

This refreshing honesty is not often spoken out loud, so Sudhir’s candid words were a welcome key-change to a song that seemed almost perfect. There isn’t a single workspace that gets everything 100% right, but you’d struggle to find someone who’d turn down the opportunity to work at the Billund LEGO campus.

 

Our next Creatif Talk is on 26th March and will see Kirsty Angerer (aka The Travelling Ergonomist) deliver a practical workshop that will provide you with a better understanding of how your daily interactions impact your wellbeing.

Written by Creatif