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Testimonial : Wella Company adopts the flexible environment
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January 2022

Wella is redesigning its workspaces to bring the group's culture to life and  offer its employees innovative, collaborative, and flexible environments, in line with the working methods’ evolution and the growth of its workforce.  

For over a 10 month period, Instate had the pleasure to assist Wella with this project through its main milestones: strategic framing, definition of work environment principles, Project management, monitoring of the work and the move. 

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Exclusive interview with Caroline Gudin, General Manager of Wella in France : 

A short introduction to our business: Wella Company is one of the world's leading beauty companies, with a portfolio of iconic hair and nail brands such as Wella Professionals, System Professional, OPI, Nioxin and ghd. With 6,000 employees worldwide and a presence in more than 100 countries, Wella Company and its brands enable people to express their personality, feel and be themselves. 

  

What motivated this evolution of your work environments?  

On December 1st ,2020, the "Wella Company" was founded as an independent entity, following the strategic transaction between Coty and KKR to divest Coty's professional care business. In this context, it was agreed that we would remain in the Metropolitan building, separated from our former Coty colleagues and optimizing our space, by the end of 2021.  

This real estate project became an opportunity to quickly rethink our work environment. We wanted it to reflect a strong, independent internal culture that builds on our history and encourages innovation from all employees. 

In the midst of the health crisis, we took into account the transformation of working methods to initiate a project featuring a flexible environment, in order to anticipate the workforce potential growth due to the group creation. We now have less workstations than people (about 2 workstations for every 3 people), but so many more spaces for collaboration and conviviality. 

What were the project's complexities?  

Our first point of complexity was financial: the separation between the two entities required a space reduction within a previously defined project budget. A detailed study was carried out together with Instate to better assess the reality of our needs.  

The second constraint was the integration of the Studio, our training center for professional hairdressers (a team of approximately 70 people including educators and clients). This previously independent facility had to be reintegrated into our overall thinking and redesigned to align with the company's current and future needs.  

We also had to get the staff on board! Reducing the number of workstations had to be combined with a change in the use of the space. We made the employees contribute to the project, one more mean to write the new history of "Wella Company". 

 

What was the structure of your internal team? 

First of all, we set up a multi-disciplinary project team led by our HR Director, Elise Pope, and organized into workstreams (HR, IT, Finance, Purchasing, Facilities Management). This allowed us to be reactive and adapt to all the project's contingencies. With Instate, we quickly realized that there were always solutions and possible evolutions over time.  

We also called for volunteers to form two business teams for the "Studio" and "Office" projects... their investment, in a dense period, allowed us to refine, finalize and even improve what we had imagined, with great ingenuity. 

 

What are your first feedbacks in this new flexible environment? 

Paradoxically, the spaces seem larger. Brightness has entered with new furniture in light wood, we gained a nursery room to rest, a mail area and even a meeting room. The new dining area is highly appreciated: separated from the open space and the coffee area, it is a place that will be used for break moments, events and meals as soon as we can. The Studio now houses a professional digital room, so the quality of our productions and visuals is so much better.  

When Instate presented us with several scenarios, we opted for spaces by "job family", and we're thrilled. By 9:30 a.m., all the remaining spaces are open to everyone and we find that it's a good balance between comfort and freedom for our employees. The new collaborative spaces regularly welcome teams working in project mode. Finally, the plants, the new furniture and the new visual identity of our company warm up the whole. 

This project has really beautified our work environment while allowing teams more collaboration and flexibility. 

How did the collaboration with Instate go?  

Instate was able to methodically guide us in managing the entire project.  

The project was carried out in two phases:  

  • 1st phase: Workspace advisory   

We started with a clear definition of our needs, a timeline that aligns with our transactional and business constraints and the priority elements to be addressed in the allocated budget.  

We then launched the reflection on the definition of the Flex Office concept in our offices, through exchange workshops and information sharing meetings. After defining the split scenarios, we studied several macro-zonings, to define at the end of this mission the ideal micro-zoning for our new layout.  

  • 2nd phase: Project Management:  

Once we had validated the major guidelines of the project, Instate was able to apply its knowledge in the field in order to put the project into execution.  

Together, we validated the architectural and technical contractors, validated the project with the owner, and then started the construction in early October, in line with our schedule and budget projections. 

 

What was Instate's added value?  

From the very beginning of the project, Instate anticipated the project's calendar, technical and operating constraints. This allowed us to handle them with accuracy. We started with a shared observation: a real estate project cannot be designed based on design solutions that have been applied elsewhere but must respond to the specific challenges of the organization and its use. Together we worked to define Wella's needs, which then became the basis for our real estate projections.  

We greatly appreciated their multidisciplinary team, always in a good mood, their methodical approach, their commitment and their ability to listen to the client. 

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