AECOM started their cooperation with UBS in 2010. The major Swiss bank, with headquarters in Zurich and Basel, had launched their ‘Workplace for the future’ (WFF) program, an innovative, future-oriented design project for the working environment of UBS employees. The goal of the initiative – in addition to boosting space use efficiency – was to apply methods including the introduction of desk sharing and consolidation of offices to create a sustainable and attractive workplace with flexible working options. A further goal was to open up corporate culture to change.

AECOM is now three years into its partnership with UBS to develop a comprehensive workplace concept, delivering services including office space planning, research change management and staff communication. The concept was developed and implemented in a range of pilot projects at UBS’ Zurich and Basel headquarters, throughout which the basic concept was continuously advanced and optimized. Experiences across the board were integrated into the project, resulting finally in a full-scale standardized implementation process involving all project stakeholders, and in the global rollout of the WFF program.  The success of all WFF projects to date can be benchmarked by the improvement in employees’ satisfaction with their workplace. Factors playing a particular role in success included the variety of support areas, the introduction of an innovative IT infrastructure and the involvement of users by means of surveys, change management and communication. The process enabled new working methods to be introduced, processes to be optimized and a new corporate culture to be established. The flexibility of the WFF working spaces provides optimum support for these new flexible working methods.

After successful implementation of the concept for the back and middle office sectors, in 2013, WFF was also implemented in the front office for staff with sales and customer responsibility. Here, the greatest challenge was to reflect the working methods of the demanding staff in their new working environment and to manage their relocation as smoothly as possible.

Staff response to the new team zone was extremely positive, praising its function as a location for direct interaction between staff where ideas and information can be exchanged with team members and colleagues more effectively. The pleasant and inspiring atmosphere created by the bright, modern design concept reflecting corporate values was welcomed.