The challenge

With more than 3,000 employees in different locations throughout the country, Groupe Mutuel is a leading company in the insurance sector in Switzerland. 

In its 2030 vision, and challenged by a context that questions the workspaces as we know them, Groupe Mutuel considered the need to evolve its way of working and become more dynamic in a process that would emphasise fluid and flexible spaces, the integration of technology and the wellbeing of its employees. 

Under this approach, we were given the task of creating an innovative working habitat that would serve as a pilot to experiment with new working methods, capable of adapting to constantly changing needs and a staff made up of local and nomadic employees. Aligned with the organisation’s vision and strategy, this space was to stimulate the birth and implementation of unexplored dynamics and serve as a source of learning for application in other locations.

The outcome

Through an intense co-creation process involving different profiles within the organisation, we identified Groupe Mutuel’s present and future needs, devised alternative ways of working and developed a physical environment to implement them. Organised as a series of concentric rings with a solid visual identity, this flexible space catalyses innovation and has the potential to transform as the organisation does. The integration of technology and the variety of collaborative spaces encourage physical and virtual exchanges between different employees and collaborators, fostering interaction and transparency. 

GROUPE MUTUEL by Studio Banana
GROUPE MUTUEL by Studio Banana
GROUPE MUTUEL by Studio Banana

Co-creating a space ready to evolve

During a time of profound changes in the global work culture, Groupe Mutuel felt the need to embrace transformation. To translate their 2030 vision into something tangible, they decided to develop a working habitat that would serve as a testing ground for imagining new work dynamics. They were not looking for a perfect space, but one that would evolve at the same pace as the rest of the organisation, with enough flexibility to adapt to rapid change.

Involved from the start in the co-creation process, we interviewed different Groupe Mutuel ambassadors from various departments to understand their current dynamics and identify future requirements. The needs were clearly defined: it had to be an adaptive space in sync with the company’s evolution and should encourage a team spirit feeling, thus allowing for different modes of collaboration, facilitating concentration and performance and prioritising the well-being of their employees.

GROUPE MUTUEL by Studio Banana

Inside to outside and vice versa

The space chosen by Groupe Mutuel for this prototype was unique: it was the entire floor of a building with a large central courtyard providing natural light. We decided to create a design structured in three concentric rings, open and interconnected. Still, with a very clear visual identity and purpose to put into practice different identified key drivers.

The inner ring consists of an open and fluid space that connects with the courtyard. Set there, the entrance and reception area become the point from which the main circulation of the working habitat is articulated. Dynamic and multifunctional, this area of softly colourful materials and vegetation acts as a meeting point for the different members of the team, whether for moments of disconnection in the cafeteria or spontaneous collaborations at shared desks.

GROUPE MUTUEL by Studio Banana
GROUPE MUTUEL by Studio Banana
GROUPE MUTUEL by Studio Banana
GROUPE MUTUEL by Studio Banana
GROUPE MUTUEL by Studio Banana

Acting as a buffer between the social zone and the concentration areas, the central ring is composed of closed rooms containing a wide variety of collaboration spaces for formal and informal, agile or traditional meetings.

Extending around the façade, the outer ring offers a more calm and sober aesthetic, intended for the concentration and performance of staff. It is divided into two zonal typologies, the “contact-center” and the “flexible open office” zones.

GROUPE MUTUEL by Studio Banana
GROUPE MUTUEL by Studio Banana
GROUPE MUTUEL by Studio Banana

Conclusion

After moving in, a survey was conducted among employees revealing 80% of the participants being satisfied or very satisfied with the workplace improvements. Also, the majority of respondents believe that new premises incorporated in the building have a positive to very positive impact on their wellbeing, perceiving the proposed work environment as innovative and stimulating as well as conveying the group’s values of benevolence, proactivity and responsibility.

The overall result of the survey also shows that the main objectives of the project were accomplished, as the new Groupe Mutuel premises allow employees and nomadic workers to engage on a more dynamic, flexible and fluid environment; facilitating physical and virtual encounters, while simplifying the exchange of technology in order to stimulate a more confident and horizontal work culture.