Bringing collaboration to the core of our Community Space

The Miele X Community Space at Valley in Amsterdam is designed as the perfect space to reflect our culture and values. And as a highly collaborative business, we spent a lot of time thinking about features to enable our people to work even better together. We spoke to a few of our talented experts about how the new workspace helps to foster collaboration – between teams, between departments, and even across the globe.

Community-centred design

We find it’s often the simplest ideas that produce the best results. For the Miele X Community Space, we didn’t want to create specific areas for specific teams. Instead, we opted for a more fluid environment, with a variety of meeting spaces, open recreation areas, and isolated call cabins available for anyone to use. Not to mention the impressive outdoor balcony, which is one of the best places to appreciate the futuristic design of the Valley building. The reason for this was simple: we figured building fences between teams would mean less inspiration. And less collaboration. “In companies with a more traditional workspace, I found it more challenging to exchange with the management regularly,” explains Jouvence Monteiro, one of our Country Success Managers. “Here, it’s easy to meet anyone over a coffee and discuss what you’re working on. It really helps with collaboration.”

While allowing more interaction between teams is a great first step, we wanted to go even further, and actively encourage this kind of cross-department collaboration through our design. By placing the break-out areas in the centre of the office, anyone moving from one workspace to another would naturally pass through that more social environment. Program Manager Migrations Betul Kaya says this helps her to catch up with colleagues. “I visit the Community Space a few times a week, and I like the way it’s designed to support collaboration – it makes it easy to connect with other people.”

Living the Miele brand

Of course, we didn’t just have to consider the way we laid out the Community Space. We also had to figure out what we were going to put in it. One thing was immediately obvious to us. As the global digital hub for one of the world’s most iconic brands, we weren’t going to pass up the chance to fill our workspace with Miele products. Naturally, the two kitchens became central pillars of the entire design, fitted with high-end coffee machines, multiple ovens, electric hobs, refrigerators and dishwashers. They go a great deal further than your typical office kitchen, allowing our team to connect while cooking just like they would at home. If that wasn’t enough, we also included a Miele product display area, which features our washers and dryers, that people can use to do their laundry. So, this doubles as yet another social space to meet and collaborate.

But we didn’t insist on Miele appliances simply because of their high quality. It’s about immersing ourselves in the brand. “You’re surrounded by Miele heritage,” says our Director of CRM Digital Activation, Mattia Tonolo. “There’s even a screen showcasing old Miele adverts.” What better way is there to unite and inspire a team? For Betul, having the products available also helps to understand them. “It’s an advantage that the Community Space has all these products; it creates better insights for our eCommerce team, familiarizing us with features, benefits, and unique selling points. This way, we can ensure our projects are even more effective and accurate,” she says.

The right tools

One of our main considerations was ensuring that colleagues had a choice of environments where they can meet up and collaborate. From bookable call cabins, where they can make high-quality video calls, to the green room, which is full of plants to create a more relaxing vibe. Or meeting rooms that are themed to reflect some of the global markets we work with – including the Down Under room, where everything’s upside down! Then there’s the Arena – a high-tech multimedia room that’s currently being installed. It’s equipped with recording facilities, a green screen and conference seating, giving us the scope to host a range of collaborative global events.

As an organisation that spans many teams and markets across the globe, one of our most useful new tools for collaboration is the 360° boardroom. Full of high-end technology, it makes hybrid meetings feel like everyone’s sitting around the same table, regardless of where in the world they’re calling from. “It’s remarkable,” says Mattia. “My team is split between Amsterdam and Gutersloh, but the 360° room puts us all on the same level.” And Jouvence adds that the boardroom has one of the best views in the entire Community Space.

A global hub

Our move to the new Community Space has been an upgrade in many ways, but one of the most impactful has been its increased size. Not only does the more open atmosphere encourage creativity and collaboration, but it also allows visitors from other markets to come and experience our digital hub in the flesh. After working on a huge long-term project, Betul finally got to meet people from the markets in the Czech Republic and Slovakia that she’d been collaborating with, when they came to the Community Space for rollout day. “They loved the space,” she says. “And it meant we could organise time together in person.”

The difference in size means we can now host our monthly Digital Growth Lab events completely in-house too, rather than hiring an outside venue. Inviting 10-15 people from different markets around the world, we gather to innovate, strategise, and socialise. The design of the Community Space is perfect for this kind of event, with space for a main Town Hall meeting along with multiple break-out areas.

The success of the Digital Growth Lab event has certainly encouraged us to host even more global meetups, giving teams from every Miele market a chance to experience the space. According to Jouvence, our visitors have so far been very impressed. “They enjoyed the atmosphere and how the office was built with a combination of modern thinking and traditional Miele products,” she explains. “I think many of them went away with ideas about how they could redesign their own workspaces to be more like ours!”

The way our Community Space fosters collaboration, immerses our people in the brand and gives them a sense of purpose, has caught some attention. It’s become an inspirational destination of sorts for Miele people around the world. As Mattia puts it: “It’s bespoke Miele. Twelve months ago, we had what was inside the box, and now we have the wrapper to go with it!”

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