AstraZeneca Australia's new, agile office uses ‘zones’ to keep staff engaged

AstraZeneca Australia's new, agile office uses ‘zones’ to keep staff engaged
AstraZeneca Australia's new, agile office uses ‘zones’ to keep staff engaged

AstraZeneca Australia, an arm of global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, has ‘zoned in’ its employees, literally, at its new Macquarie Park offices.

The firm’s adoption of agile-based working is founded on specialised work ‘zones’, four at the moment, with each catering to different styles of working and collaborating with other people.

The concept was by design firm Futurespace, whose managing director Angela Ferguson said, “We designed the four zones to liberate workers from the desk bound experience.”

The new 3,000 sqm office gives AstraZeneca Australia’s 200 office-based employees the option to work in four ‘zones’:

The Unplugged Zone – this area is characterised by highly interactive management activities.

The Connected Zone – this is a stimulating environment, where employees engage with colleagues and visitors and includes formal meeting spaces, conference rooms with video conferencing and audio-visual systems, as well as collaborative spaces.

The Base Zone – is at the heart of the office and includes open plan work areas, private work areas, project areas and informal meeting areas.

It acts as the primary space for individuals and teams to carry out their core activities throughout the working day.

The Virtual Zone – this zone isn’t a physical zone, but is the integrated technology overlaid in and out of the workplace for employees. It is designed to allow employees greater mobility, both in and out of the office.

AstraZeneca Australia's new, agile office uses ‘zones’ to keep staff engaged

“Sitting at the same desk all day does not promote productivity, health and wellbeing, or collaboration,” said Ferguson.

“However, it is just as troublesome to have employees work wherever they want without having the correct design infrastructure in place. That is why the ‘zones’ are effective.”

She said that “each zone was designed to facilitate different styles of working, whether it’s informal chats over coffee, structured team meetings or focused individual work”. 

Another standout feature being rolled out includes wi-fi technology that will allow staff with no assigned seating to locate each other within the large building at any time, enhancing collaboration.

The planning also involved features such as use of timber to create warmth, plenty of natural lighting, indoor greenery, and a multi-purpose open area where employees can have lunch and meetings.

AstraZeneca Australia's new, agile office uses ‘zones’ to keep staff engaged

The ‘zones’ are consistent with AstraZeneca’s global workplace strategy, called “iwork”, which outlines a more agile way of working.

“iWORK, agile- based working environments, is the future of AstraZeneca’s workplaces,” said Paul Spittle, country president AstraZeneca Australia and New Zealand.

“The amount of impromptu conversations in passing I now have with people from all across the business, how I can walk past an open meeting space and stumble across a cool piece of work one of the teams is doing, which I otherwise would never have seen. It’s changed the dynamic of the business totally.”

The ‘energy’ of the new office will also help the company attract and retain talent, concludes Kimberly Elliott, director of People, Capabilities and Sales Operations. 

 

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Office Space Macquarie Park

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