Innovation is a big part of who we are. AXA’s Smart Working model is based on the New Work concept. Our employees determine how and where they can best interact with their team and be at their most productive. Smart Working also impacts the way the workplace at AXA is set up. The reasons for having everyone gather at our company’s offices have fundamentally changed.
Even the office layout has been adapted according to the tenets of New Work and the needs of our staff: We have various spaces available for their use, as well as space outside of the AXA offices. They can work in these spaces, network and let their creativity run wild, as well as find inspiration and source new ideas. Since on those days employees do come into the office the focus is on working together, sharing and catching up with their team, we have set up more areas for them where they can interact and communicate, ranging from meeting rooms of different sizes to more relaxed settings such as lounges and individual pods. The majority of our meeting rooms are equipped to host hybrid meetings. This means that employees who are not in the office can also easily join in on calls.
In order to make such flexibility possible, AXA has partnered with the coworking space company Impact Hub in Zurich. These spaces are available to all AXA employees for their work and they can also rent them at discounted prices for creative workshops. The coworking spaces from Impact Hub have become extremely popular.
The two AXA employees Ilona Fäh and Athos Fenacci are big fans of these new work stations and you will often find them in the Impact Hub rooms. Here’s what they have to say about their experience with Smart Working, AXA's New Work model.
Ilona joined AXA three years ago. Being able to choose where she works is important to her and makes her workday better. This is why Ilona started working at Impact Hub in Zurich once a week as soon as she was given the chance. It’s the ideal spot for her to change up her workday. And it helps her be more creative: “Impact Hub inspires me and gets my creative juices flowing. But working there offers so much more,” she says.
“On the days when I have just a couple of meetings, I prefer to work at Impact Hub because I can really focus on my projects and more involved tasks,” she explains. This helps her to work more efficiently and be more productive. Thanks to the new and innovative Smart Working model and the greater freedom in the choice of workspace, Ilona can work at the AXA office in Winterthur, Impact Hub in Zurich or her home office, depending on what projects she has and the needs of her team.
Athos is also constantly on the go, primarily due to his job in sales. He maintains close contact with his customers and sales team. An old saying from Ticino describes Athos’ choice of workplace perfectly, “I work wherever there’s no snow falling” he says, grinning. “I'm completely flexible and can work from anywhere. Thanks to technology, Iʾm not confined to a certain room or place.” Athos doesn’t need a private office or a particularly quiet place to work. On the contrary, he loves to work where things are a bit more lively. “I love working places where Iʾm going to meet people,” he says.
On the days when I have just a couple of meetings, I prefer to work at Impact Hub because I can really focus on my projects and more involved tasks.
As both Ilona and Athos point out, “The size and type of environment you work in has an enormous impact on your creativity and well-being.” In Ilona’s case, itʾs particularly useful that she no longer has a daily commute. This improves her work-life balance. She also appreciates going to different places: “It stimulates me and puts new thoughts in my head,” she explains. For Athos, the exchanges with other people are the greatest benefit of Smart Working under AXA’s New Work model. “The social aspect and the interaction with others is the most inspiring factor of all for me. Meeting up with other people energizes me,” he says.
Impact Hub in Zurich also provides a change of place and a chance to mingle with other people. “At Impact Hub, we meet people from all different sectors and with all different kinds of jobs. We have a lot of inspiring discussions there, and these discussions have a positive impact on our work and our output,” agree both Ilona and Athos.
I don’t like working from home because it makes me feel isolated. I need to be around other people.
Smart Working, AXA’s New Work model, lets employees decide where they want to work based on where they are most productive, where they prefer to work and how the team works together best. “Every person has their own idea of what their ideal place to work looks like,” says Ilona. She finds it easy to separate her personal life from her work life – even if she has her laptop at home with her. Athos, on the other had, avoids working from home when possible: “I don’t like working from home because it makes me feel isolated. I need to be around other people. I’d rather talk to people in person than through a screen.”
Ilona and Athos both agree: “We should use the options that New Work gives us to try out new ways of working and explore different work environments. But we still need to make sure that the chosen place of work is suitable for the type of work we’re doing and also that it matches our personal preferences. This is a win-win for everyone: for employees as well as for the company.