Obvion is a financial institution with around 500 employees, based in Heerlen. Assistant Director Guido Sauren: “We considered a number of locations for our new offices, not just in Heerlen. But we believe this is the best place to achieve more interaction between education, research and businesses. Take, for example, the Smart Service Campus, right in our backyard. We believe in co-creation and encourage collaboration between partners in the chain to work on housing solutions for the future.”
Guido Sauren: “Now that we are committing ourselves to these premises for the long term, we want to make the building future-proof. The building will immediately be given a much more open feel inside. Our customers deserve the best homes, and our employees deserve the best workplace! We are happy to help create the atmosphere that Heerlen deserves.”
AT Osborne’s role
Obvion sees its premises as a powerful instrument to help achieve its commercial, strategic and organisational goals. AT Osborne was asked to develop a strategic location plan. Obvion gave our consultants the following guidelines:
- Translate the company policy into a strategic location plan;
- Shape it around ‘smart working’;
- Provide flexible premises at the best possible operating costs.
Our interpretation of Obvion’s search for premises consisted of a qualitative and a quantitative element. We wrote the quality part based on the organisation’s targets that affect its premises, the functional requirements and the technical demands the building had to meet. The quantitative part was a calculation of the necessary surface area of rentable floor space based on an analysis of different scenarios.
Living and Working 2030
We based the targets on existing policy documents and the vision developed by Obvion, Living in 2030. We translated this into Working in 2030. When analysing their targets, we assumed we were dealing with employees who are passionate and committed, expect autonomy and freedom and assume responsibility. Relationships with partners in the supply chain, customers and students were also taken into account. Thirdly, a culture change was needed.
Based on the (scenario) analysis of the mix of personnel, carried out using our calculation tool SQUARE-HNW, among others, [id1] we defined the space requirements. With this data and the results of the target analysis, we created a framework under which we proposed to the management team three alternatives for a building. A choice was made on this basis. We further developed it and it was fed into the search for a location.
Total cost per employee method
The search for a location homed in on south Limburg. This led to a number of alternatives to the present location. After a call for tenders and multi-criteria analyses, three property vendors were chosen. Based on our extensive tender information, they were able to present detailed rental proposals. These provided the input for an operational budget for the future location costs. It was not the rental price differences that were key, but the operating costs (total cost per employee method). This then formed the basis of the negotiating strategy and the final contract which used the new ROZ (Council for Real Estate) model, as well as specific conditions and exclusions to give the tenant more power under this model.
Following the property strategy, location search and contract negotiation, we are now working on the fourth phase. At present, the Obvious Working programme is being rolled out. On behalf of the tenant we are adapting the building and translating the change management in the organisation into the latest workplace concepts, hospitality and changes in attitude and behaviour by management and employees.
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