With nearly 100,000 employees in over 100 countries, Sanofi leverages strongly on the beauty of teamwork and communication to ensure its success as one of the leading healthcare organisations in the world.
This is especially vital also because the firm has today diversified into many company business activities, such as consumer healthcare products, generics and animal health products.
Those reasons are precisely why the Sanofi’s Singapore office emphasises on an environment of openness and promotes employees’ transversal collaboration.
“As Sanofi has different business activities, we have a goal to achieve the “One Sanofi” family and this workplace design breaks down silos,” says Freddie Chow, chief talent officer, Asia Pacific, Sanofi.
“As no individual, regardless of your position has a dedicated office, it promotes a culture which is not hierarchical but building on team work and collaboration.”
Chow explains that the company does not mandates that every employee sit on a permanently assigned desk.
Instead, the company lets its employees decide where they sit and who they sit with, depending on the job activity the employee is working on.
“This allows employees the flexibility and autonomy on their part,” Chow says.
Chow agrees strongly that designing an office which promotes flexibility helps improve employee engagement significantly in the organisation.
“With the flexibility of the workplace design, employees have the choice to work in a quiet workplace if he/she needs to focus on the work,” he says.
He adds that employees can also use a meeting room for tele-conference, book a room for small or big team meeting, or even take an urgent call in the phone booth.
“[Employees can] have a quick bite or a meal in our Food Lab, celebrate a colleague’s birthday in our community centre or play a game of table soccer to de-stress,” he says.
“The workplace design caters for different needs and this helps improve productivity.”
When asked what elements HR leaders should keep in mind when designing a new office, Chow says it is key for them to understand the type of work activity majority of the employees engage in and the amount of time spent in each activity.
If the change implemented is something very drastic, Chow warns that change management must start early and employees must be involved and communicated at an early stage and be updated on the plan and progress.
“At the end of the day, no matter how beautiful the office may be, we still want a happy and motivated workforce and employees must enjoy the new workplace,” he says.