Investa's new Sydney office highlights the value of workplace design

Investa's new Sydney office highlights the value of workplace design
Investa's new Sydney office highlights the value of workplace design

In seeking to develop the future workplace for its staff, Investa, Australia's largest office manager, engaged project management company Montlaur to manage the delivery of its new head office in Sydney based on a design prepared by HASSELL.

Located at 420 George Street, the subsequent transformation, completed in January 2018, has seen Investa consolidate its workforce onto a single level and shift to an agile workplace.

This has provided the staff with greater flexibility and variety in their working environment, as they are encouraged to move around the office and work where they are most productive. Instead of having just one desk, the team are provided with a variety of desks and workstations in addition to collaborative areas, or quiet zones for individual work.

Investa's new Sydney office highlights the value of workplace design
Investa's staff are encouraged to work where they are most productive. Image: Supplied

Over the last five to 10 years, we have seen huge changes in the contemporary workforce. The best organisations view their workplaces as strategic assets to help them compete. Investa recognised early on in the relocation process the opportunity to change the way its workplace was designed, to better align with its culture and support the way its people wanted to work and collaborate.

Before any architect can start designing, we really need to work out what the strategy is around the physical space, the technology and how people work. 

It’s important in this stage of the consultation that we aren’t steering anyone in a particular direction. Our job is to get to know the business and its people and present options soundly based on what they are trying to achieve as an organisation.

- Stuart Munro, Montlaur Change Director

Investa's workforce is mobile and technologically connected, spending considerable time out of the office, working between the company’s commercial properties and offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The company's previous premises didn’t reflect this type of work environment, instead, it provided a traditional desk-and-cubicles layout, inefficiently spread across two levels with the work being performed by teams who were isolated.

HASSELL and a technology consultant, POMT were engaged to design a workplace that reflected best-practice office design and would ensure Investa's staff remained motivated and productive.

The team conducted focus groups, interviews with leadership, an all-staff survey to analyse how the current workplace was performing and a utilisation study to assess how the workspace was being used. The results highlighted numerous opportunities.

The assessment presented the possibilities for activity-based working (ABW) and explored a hybrid option, combining two different styles. Montlaur was then engaged to develop a workplace strategy with Investa that would align its work environment with its business strategy and vision for the future, with a complete transformation roadmap created. 

Investa's new Sydney office highlights the value of workplace design
One of the many different areas of Investa's new workplace. Image: Supplied

According to Investa, the choice to move to agile working was fundamentally about providing everyone in the team more choice about how they approach their work environment and how it assists them in completing their daily tasks.

As part of the consultation process Montlaur also created a team of ‘change champions’ drawn from all levels of the company, who they collaborated with to create a series of videos and events to help the wider workforce understand why the business had chosen to work in a new way. 

These also highlighted the benefits provided by the central city location adjacent to Pitt Street Mall in the CBD and its proximity to retail, fitness and dining opportunities.

A launch event brought everyone together to learn about the new workplace and highlight how it would better meet the needs of staff, enabling a strong, positive culture to thrive.

Montlaur were an integral part of our workplace transformation project from both a change management and project management perspective. They ensured our people were fully engaged with on the project and ready to transition to the new way of working. We were very pleased to have them on board.

- Sally Franklin, Group Executive, Real Estate Services and Business Operations, Investa

For Investa, the entire relocation process was made easier by the fact that Montlaur is one of the few companies to offer change management and project management services under the one umbrella.

Investa's new Sydney office highlights the value of workplace design
Investa's new workplace designed by HASSELL and managed by Montlaur. Image: Supplied

Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir is one of the co-founders of Urban Melbourne. Laurence has developed a wealth of knowledge and experience working in both the private and public sector specialising in architecture, urban design and planning. He also has a keen interest in the built environment, cities and Star Wars.

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Investa Montlaur workplace design Sydney interior fit-out

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