Essential to adapt to hybrid working
While the integration of new ways of working is nothing new for Orange, the COVID-19 crisis has fast-tracked everything. Employees have been able to work from home for many years at Orange, but now a hybrid model, combining working from home and working in the office, is gaining ground and will affect the Group's real estate policy.
"The new era of hybrid working means that we need premises that enable our employees to work remotely if they need to self-isolate but also work in the office where they can hold face-to-face meetings and socialize with colleagues," explains Éric Houviez, Group Real Estate Director (DIG). "And the digital tools used while on the move must make it easy for employees to exchange information. The layout, the furniture and the digital devices, as well as the implementation of digital services, are all equally important in a coherent real estate project."
The new era of hybrid working means that we need premises which enable our employees to work remotely, if they need to self-isolate, but also work in the office where they can hold face to face meetings and socialize with colleagues.
Éric Houviez, Group Real Estate Director (DIG)
The Orange smart office, a modular base
Since 2018, Orange has ramped up its major real estate projects, with 14 new sites scheduled to open by end 2023. The Group made the decision to invest in modern buildings offering the flexible layout required to adapt to progressive changes in ways of working, projects that bring together teams from different sites, like "Coeur Défense" and the "Bridge" project, the Group's future headquarters in Issy-Les-Moulineaux (near Paris), which places digitalization at the heart of its overall design and will host close to 3,000 employees from June 2021. As Éric Houviez says, "These new sites address the changing ways of working and support collaboration. We want our buildings to be conducive and collaborative workplaces at every level, a sort of base, places that are attractive and foster socialization for the benefit of our activities and our CSR issues, places for meetings that strengthen the feeling of belonging, the culture and image our customers have of us."
An internal service provider to support the change
The DIG turned to his internal partner, Orange Business Services to help fit out the Group's new sites and to supply essential digital tools. Orange Business Services first played the role of advisor and assistant for the creation of a catalog of digital services based on the shared needs of the DIG, human resources and the IT department. Collaborative tools for roaming teams, services for booking geolocated rooms, home automation, etc.
To efficiently implement these services across all of the Orange Group's buildings, the choice of technologies had to be rationalized. "We are also applying an analysis methodology, taking into account the wide range of needs for each site in terms of space and digital tools," explains Éric Houviez. "We are basing our analysis on employees' uses throughout their day and according to the project methodologies, with spaces suited to the need to hold meetings, for example, as well as spaces for more informal exchanges, quiet places where you can work alone or with a colleague, etc."
Orange Business Services is helping the teams to build their digital offer through local contacts: involving employees from the moment the spaces are designed is the best way to ensure that the decisions made are accepted at a more global level. "This cross-functional work helps us to be more efficient and to achieve a uniform employee experience, while taking into account the specificities of each site," says Éric Houviez. The Orange Lumière campus in Lyon illustrates this cross-functional work: it offers a wide range of spaces over eight floors, which all teams can access. Its design, focused on modularity, is an example of sustainable investment, which has proven strategic given the context of rapid shifts between different hybrid working models.
Working towards an employee experience enhanced by data
Orange uses a Building Management System (BMS) and data analysis to optimize the management of its buildings. The data enables better supervision of maintenance and the ability to make significant energy savings while ensuring occupant comfort, already deployed at the Alleray and Orange Gardens sites in the Paris region.
"Reliable data about building use helps us to understand occupant behavior and assess their satisfaction. We can adapt to changes with a solid analytical basis," concludes Éric Houviez. "We must adopt a similar approach for digital services, especially remote working tools, to enrich and optimize the work experience by ensuring that we continue to encourage human interaction, even remotely." A project for which the DIG will once again be able to count on his internal partner, a specialist in the data journey.