Areas of work

Where the future of work takes shape


In 2021, we decided to expand our Freiburg campus and create even more space for exchange, creativity and collaboration. Our new building has now been completed and is slowly coming to life. The new Building 6 is home to our very personal vision of collaboration and working environments of the future - and the details make all the difference.

The elevator doors open with a soft "ding", revealing a white stairwell. Footsteps echo on the floor. It still smells of fresh paint and grout and the handle of the door is still wrapped in paper. Lena Schmidt pushes it down and enters an empty space. Gray carpeting, white walls, through the windows at the opposite end of the room you can see the traffic passing by at the intersection of Munzinger Straße and Bötzinger Straße. A drill hums quietly somewhere in the building.

Lena Schmidt

Lena is New Work Development Manager at Haufe Group. Based in the Human Resources & Organizational Development department, she deals on a daily basis with how Haufe Group as an organization is shaping and rethinking its work culture and, very specifically, its collaboration in the spaces at all locations. She now has 1,800 square meters in front of her. 1,800 square meters on which a mosaic of individual work areas will be created over the next few weeks, down to the last detail and tailored to the needs of the teams that are to move in here. We are on the first floor of Building 6 on Haufe Group campus - our new building, which was completed a few months ago.

Our future is hybrid

From the outside, Building 6 looks like a normal office complex. No irregular angles, no play with shapes or colors. Instead, a white façade with large windows, simple but timeless. This not only suits us better. In this form, our new building is also designed with the future in mind and built for all eventualities, explains Lena, who has been working on holistic spatial concepts for companies since her studies. In 2021, she looks back, construction work began.

The aim was not only to create space for around 450 workstations with a total of more than 11,000 square meters. But also to design a building that is particularly sustainable and enables exchange, creativity and collaborative work. This idea of collaboration came about not despite, but precisely because of the pandemic. Because our employee surveys during the pandemic years clearly showed that we do not want to be and will not be a remote-only company. But no one could imagine going back to the office. Instead, most wanted the freedom to choose between the two options individually. So Birte Hackenjos, CEO of Haufe Group, came up with the idea of doing the same: by working hybrid, but leaving it up to our teams and their managers to decide whether they want to meet more digitally or in the office.

An effort that pays off

This is how our hybrid working model was born - and the start of our HG.Hybrid project, which Lena now manages. "We have put all campus buildings to the test with this project in recent years," says Lena. Together with the teams, individual working modes were developed, requirements for future-oriented collaboration were determined and these results were transferred into the most flexible space concepts possible. An intensive and complex process that is still ongoing, as Haufe Group divisions have very different working methods and requirements. "But the effort is absolutely worth it," says Lena.

After all, the goal was clear from the outset: we want to create spaces that are a perfect fit and tailored to the needs of our teams. "HG.Hybrid will keep us busy for a few more years, but we've taken the first big step with the new building," says Lena. "It will primarily house teams that either don't yet have a shared space or are already working in a particularly flexible and hybrid way. That's because the building is designed for collaborative working."

The details make all the difference

Tim Fischer

You can understand exactly what this means if you ask Tim Fischer to explain the small structural details. Tim is Head of our Facility Management & Services division and therefore also responsible for building management. A few days later, he is also standing on the grey carpet on the first floor, between glass fronts and black strips, and points to the ceiling. "We have created a ceiling here with a grid of 1.20 meters. This means that we are extremely flexible when it comes to designing rooms because we can raise walls every 1.20 meters," he explains, while the aforementioned partition walls are being installed next to him.

The list goes on: lots of glass fronts to let in daylight and create an open-plan feel. Numerous floor boxes with sockets and connections so that tables can be distributed around the room in any way. A ventilation system combined with opening windows so that each room can be individually ventilated. High-quality materials that can be flexibly reused in new configurations. And a particularly wide building with a lift and staircase on the outside instead of in the middle. "This gives us an enormously large contiguous interior space that we can design without any gaps," says Tim.

The partition walls are currently being installed on the first floor.

Before joining Haufe Group, Tim worked in retail design and in the office furniture industry and knows that space requirements change every five years. At the same time, an office building has to last much longer. "That's why we paid attention to every detail to ensure that we can redesign our spaces again and again with maximum flexibility, also in terms of sustainability."

Our space is divided into four zones

The elevator takes us up to the fifth floor. Here, in the Human Resources & Organizational Development area, you can already see how such an interior space can be designed. Every partition and every piece of furniture is here for a very specific reason. They do not divide the workspace into individual offices, but into four different zones: Communication, Concentration, Collaboration and Calm.

These zones also emerged from the workshops and needs surveys in the HG.Hybrid project. And here, too, the small details make all the difference, says Tim, leading the way across the space. In one of the meeting rooms - Zone Communication - he sits down on one of the upholstered chairs around the large table in the middle, looks at the built-in monitor with camera on the wall and points to the meeting technology on the table. In the area slightly shielded by furniture and a partition wall - Zone Concentration - he walks past employees who are concentrating on their work at individual desks at a moderate noise level.

In rooms in the Collaboration zone, everything is designed for maximum flexibility, e.g. for workshops.

In the workshop room - Zone Collaboration - he folds up tables and pushes them against the wall, moves the monitor and camera, points to the movable pinboard with colorful notes attached to it and stacks chairs on top of each other. "Everything in this room is designed so that you never stay in one place for more than 30 minutes."

By contrast, the small room that can be assigned to the Calm zone looks completely different: "Here, a lounge-like atmosphere with sofas, armchairs, poufs or stools gives us the feeling of getting away from the more formal office routine. How you use it is up to you. One person may want to take a deep breath here, another may be particularly creative and one-to-one staff meetings can also take place in a room like this," says Tim. There are also communal areas such as the café on the sixth floor and two terraces, which create meeting spaces for all employees on the Freiburg campus.

Rooms in the Calm zone are places of retreat with a relaxed atmosphere.

New Work means constant change

Back to Lena and back to the undeveloped area on the first floor: Lena walks through the space, explaining the needs of the team that is to move in here, how individual requirements were solved and where and how often each of the four zones occurs - in other words, how a floor like this is designed piece by piece. And why the final concept did not look like the area's initial proposal. "Most people find it difficult to immediately name what makes their day-to-day work and collaboration work well. That's quite normal," she says. The joint exchange usually triggered an initial reflection process, which her project team then accompanied. "This takes us much longer, but it's an important step that ultimately leads us to a better overall result."

Our new building stands for our idea of New Work. "But," says Lena, "New Work is not a desired state that we achieve at some point and then sit back. It's about constant change – and we at Haufe Group are pretty good at that," she summarizes with a smile.

Social Media

Follow us on other channels.