Client story

Workplace transformation to business transformation: the Aviva story

Embracing the latest workplace developments, the refurbishment of Aviva’s office space played a key role in creating an innovative and collaborative organisational culture

“Understanding and appreciating the range of concerns which impact a project (whether they are aesthetic, human or professional) helps the end result to be so much more powerful”

Gilles Allard, Workplace & Design Senior Director

A collaborative project to deliver shared success

The background to the project undertaken by leading global insurer, Aviva France, at their headquarters in Bois-Colombes just outside of Paris, demonstrates the range of challenges plaguing the financial sector. Situated at a cross-section between client service, performance and innovation challenges, the insurance industry is going back to the drawing board.

“The working environment is a considerable part of the culture of a business. During the discussions that we had with JLL around our ambitious transformation project for Aviva France, we emphasised the need to break down silos, promote collaborative work and informal discussions and enhance the digital culture of the organisation. These new spaces are designed to respond to the demands of our employees, our drive for innovation and efficiency and they are fully in line with our ambitions”, Jean-François Ode, HR Director, Aviva France.”

In an extensive participative process designed with JLL, employees were able to provide their thoughts about how the organisation could improve their workspace. Taking into consideration individual expectations in order to serve collective needs better, a variety of workshops were set up: manager seminars, focus groups, collective validation of concepts etc. This brought to the fore the real need to provide space for concentration, collaboration and conviviality.

Working on a fully-operational site, the redesign of the Aviva France offices, still currently in progress, started with a pilot space which encompassed 130 employees. Due to the multi-faceted expertise of JLL’s Workplace and Design team, as well as that of the organisation’s subsidiary, Tétris, which is delivering the build solutions on this project, more than 50% of the floorplate of Aviva France’s headquarters in Bois-Colombes has been given a new lease of life.  By the end of this transformation project, 2,200 employees will have benefitted from the new working environment, in line with the company’s digital strategy, and Aviva France will have optimised around 30% of its headquarters in Bois Colombes.

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In order to respond more closely to the expectations of employees, JLL’s Design team took inspiration from Aviva’s “DNA” in order to create a warm, convivial environment focused on innovation and employee engagement.

We created the Viva Centre, as a true living space, which incorporates:

- Viva Café – designed for informal exchange and corpoworking, it is ideal for taking a break and getting a drink or a snack

- CréAviva – equipped with armchairs, low tables and an agora, this ‘start-up feel’ area, which changes according to the different floors and themes, supports collaborative work and informal meetings

Aviva Meeting – a place to support work requiring more concentration or confidentiality, with a quiet room and a layout built around an open library, but also offering just as much idea sharing through its higher capacity meeting rooms

“In order to rethink Aviva’s workspace, we developed the theme “Flex and Feel”, which symbolised for us the modern insurance profession: flexible (flex) and connected to human experience (feel).  At the same time a unifying thread, a climbing rope to ensure striving for boldness, a bond of trust between colleagues and clients or a subject to weave different relationships together, the imagination of this theme stimulated our discussions with Aviva employees and guided our discussions at every scale of the project….” Valéry Guesné , JLL Workplace and Design Department

This new environment, which reinforces the quality of working life at the organisation, effectively underlines Aviva’s transformation strategy. The layout of the office space is also a true driver of productivity. Rethinking design can transform not only work dynamics, but also the organisation’s commercial vision. There are new values that emerge that bring a company together when the working environment is transformed.

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