The Dacorum Business Hero awards focus on the unsung heroes who go above and beyond in giving back to the area. They recognise the businesses that really make a difference and have a positive impact on their employees – shaping the future of economic growth in Dacorum. The Employment Hero award celebrates companies who go that extra step to create a work environment that makes their employees feel fulfilled and valued.
Atlas Copco in Hemel Hempstead has introduced a new way of working – called Activity Based Working (ABW) - that is more adaptive to the increasingly flexible working practices that employees are looking for these days. This ‘workplace of the future’ has brought with it improvements in staff morale and job satisfaction.
The aim of ABW was to encourage greater efficiency, collaboration and creativity and, since the completion of the project, the results have been encouragingly positive. Staff quote improvements in wellbeing, productivity, and communication as benefits of the new workplace, as well as better relationships with colleagues and greater access to different teams, which in turn leads to better customer service.
The layout and feel of the Atlas Copco building in Hemel Hempstead is integral to the way people operate within it. Upon entering the building, staff and visitors are greeted by The Plaza, and several informal meeting areas. It has proven to be a popular location for brief meetings and short breaks and is therefore key to the activity based working concept. There are cockpits for individual concentrated work, larger cabins to work with two or three others on a subject, and an open space area with multiple desks. People no longer have their own desks; they select a place to work depending on the task at hand, and keep their essentials in a locker.
ABW isn’t however just about the ‘look’ of the workplace. It also involved developing unified communications and cloud storage facilities, which enable people to work from smartphones, laptops, tablets, softphones and digital projectors wherever they are.