counting beans on bean bags - can accounting firms adopt activity based working? a look at knp solutions
Australia's financial sector has been captivated by the workplace design trend of ABW (Activity Based Working), with major firms such as PWC adopting the model almost a decade ago and other similar firms following suit.
When BRM Projects began working with knp Solutions, a Melbourne-based accounting firm, it was settled into its 22 year old traditional office space with a location and building that was suited to both clients and staff.
It was an unexpected eviction notice mid-lease and additional partners that triggered the need for a change of location and company direction.....
Property Search - First We Needed To Secure A Premises
BRM Projects expertise was initially sought to guide knp’s budget, timeline, and property search whilst also providing expert witness evidence to assist the lawyers reach settlement on the eviction claim.
From the outset BRM Projects encouraged knp to embrace the upcoming changes, use the opportunity for rejuvenation and consider introducing Activity Based Working into the new space.
After spatial planning, test-fits and a false start on a property, 1121 High Street in Armadale was identified. The space had potential but the old partition heavy fitout needed to be stripped away and the overly generous foyer yearned to be reclaimed. Fortunately the agent and landlord understood knp’s long term vision and assisted with approvals and incentive contributions covering make good and fitout works.
After securing the premises, BRM Projects switched focus to the design, tender, fitout, relocation then handover of the existing space.
The Change Process
Significant time was invested into change management and demonstration of the design with staff including presentations, communication of ABW concepts and office trends, 3D walk-throughs, fitout progress updates, opportunity for feedback, sample boards and showroom visits.
How ABW Was Implemented
Sit to stand flexibility
· Generous lunch café in the best part of the building
· Quiet rooms for higher levels of focus
· North facing balcony with couches and a bbq
· Whiteboard walls, glassboards and brainstorm zones
· Informal meeting zones
· Formal meetings zones with operable walls for flexibility
· Cloud-based IT and follow-me capability for flexible use of the ABW spaces
At its core ABW has flexible desking, which is not always suitable or well received by staff. A hybrid ABW approach was adopted where the dedicated workstation was retained to give each staff member a sense of security and home within the company.
The open plan design also considered acoustics, feature storage, natural light and an abundance of plants. Partner offices were shifted to interior with skylights adding natural light, and the reception footprint was expanded to reclaim the building’s overly generous foyer.
…and yes, ABW was embraced including BEAN BAGS!
“We placed our trust in BRM Projects from the outset, and were impressed with the result,” says Andrew Freeman, partner at knp Solutions. “The service was blue ribbon from planning and searching for properties, all the way through to the relocation. Our project had an urgency and BRM Projects calmly guided us through, delivering a new space that we are very proud to occupy and present to our clients. We love the space.”
“The project wasn’t always easy,” adds Norman Same, partner. “Budgets, timelines, co-ordination, a myriad of suppliers and consultants, tough decisions that needed to be made. BRM Projects informed us well, allowing us to make the right decisions, and the result is a testament to their service.”
"We appreciated being entrusted with the future look of knp. We especially love returning to the space to see it being used and enjoyed".
Can ABW be adopted by your firm?
Contact BRM to find out how!
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