Europ Assistance's seven entities in the Paris region are now united in a single headquarters, on the top three floors of the WILO building, in the heart of the Saint-Denis' business district with over 55,000 employees. Europ Assistance wanted to create an emblematic place which respects the specific characteristics of each of its entities, in order to encourage the adoption of new hybrid working methods, and to boost its brand image and its attractiveness as an employer by providing identified premises and innovative, digital tools and services. The result of a collaboration lasting more than 3 years, Colliers' support focused on the design and layout, but also on the redefinition of a common working method.
|end of 2021||139,930.84 square feet||1 200||1 031|
Strategic framing, definition of transformation issues, Workplace strategy - prospective analysis of professions and uses - workshops for co-designing the work environment (spaces, managerial practices, etc.) - definition of the architectural concept, study, conception and design of the work environments - design of spaces, equipment and signage - assistance with the choice of furniture, recommendations, consultation and installation - carrying out the work as a General Contractor - implementation of an action to support the change and communicate the life rules
WILO, a new site designed for the « Hybrid Way of Working »
Named "Odyssey", the project was launched in 2019 to address the widespread use of new working methods within the Group. Widely used within Europ Assistance since 2016, the use of homeworking has accelerated with the successive periods of confinement since 2020. It was then necessary to review the spaces and working methods, so that collaboration between the teams remains as fluid as possible, whether the employees are at the office or remotely.
We therefore created spaces with different uses; flex-office spaces without any individual desks organised by team territories, silent lounges for concentration, connected meeting rooms with different high or low postures, bubbles offering written walls and particularly agile connectivity for brainstorming, the WeCare collaborative space... So many locations thought out to allow and encourage collaboration and hybrid work.
« In a context where hybrid work has become the norm, we felt that it was the employer's responsibility to make employees want to come to the office. This requires a place that makes people want to come together, through its architecture and its conviviality, but also through the facilities it provides in terms of connectivity, access, services and collaboration between people » explains Virginie Babinet, Director of Transformation for the Europ Assistance Group.
Digital services to support employees in their daily work are an integral part of the project, including meeting rooms equipped with presence sensors, large screens and cameras with motion detectors. Room reservations can be made online or via touch screens located at the entrance to the rooms, and the reservation plan can be viewed via a website or on the TV screens in the common areas.
Breaking the codes
The world of start-ups inspired us to create these new work spaces, recalling the pioneering spirit of the company that invented the assistance business in 1963. Europ Assistance's choice was to create a dynamic environment for all its employees. The objective was to guarantee a variety of paths and uses of the dynamic environment (open versus closed spaces, variety of typologies and postures) with a view to innovation, creativity, flexibility and agility. This results in comfortable, warm and dynamic spaces, which simplify the daily life of employees and clients, to enable everyone to be operational, whatever the circumstances.
« We sought to break with the traditional codes of our sector, often considered cold. We have therefore opted for spaces that emphasise colour, light and rounded shapes, with a feeling of comfort that makes employees feel a little at home » emphasises Anne-Hélène Cousseau, Human Resources Director at Europ Assistance.
Focus on… the WeCare space
This unique 1 100 m2 hybrid and modular village centre is a place where people pass through every day and meet their colleagues, the President and external visitors... It consists of two parts:
- WeCare Living for resting, eating, working and gathering for events of up to 150 people,
- WeCare Business for professional meetings with partners, but also for the support functions essential to the daily life of employees; IT support and work environment kiosks.
These two spaces are extended by 800 m² of terraces open to all employees.
Warmth, colours and light, to give the place its identity
The architectural choices are resolutely domestic, opting for bright, warm colours (green, coral, yellow, orange, etc.), in spaces where colours also play a functional role by providing information on the purpose of the spaces (collaborative or silent, size of rooms, etc.). The spaces are also distinguished by the play of light and the use of shapes, such as rooms with rounded corners or office spaces in a spike to break the monotony of the alignment.
« There was a lot of work done around the colour markers and the signage in the space so that each employee could find his or her way around a very straight building » explains Valéria Bonacini, the project architect.
To these colourful and warm choices are added a decoration that is both dense and varied, where the logo is hardly present. The brand's identity is subtly distilled through the names of the rooms (referring to the world of travel), the frescoes in the galleries (using old advertisements) or the fresco in the Management Committee room (created by the artist Victoria Roussel), the neon lights (reminding us of the brand's signature), the window displays (reminding us of the logo) or even the giant photo frames and the American cases illustrating each of the professions.
Federating, bringing people together and making them want to come to the office: these are the challenges to which the teams who worked hand in hand with Europ Assistance responded in order to deliver work spaces which promote well-being, hybrid work and meetings, with an innovative living space at the heart of the building. With its new site, the only one of its kind in the Paris region, Europ Assistance is positioning itself as the insurer of the future in terms of working environments and methods. In line with the values espoused by the Group, this new working environment promotes performance, exemplarity and the attractiveness of new talent, without forgetting the well-being of its employees.