You moved to Dock from another property. What has this change and the new place brought you?
We moved here from Lighthouse Vltava Waterfront Towers, which is just across the river, but the building was old and a lot of things weren’t working for us there. We were looking for something nearby so that the move would not be such a shock for colleagues who had been with us for over a decade, and we discovered DOCK. It was also by the water, but for us it was mainly a campus, like a small town, a compact space where you can sit and work outside, and of course a modern functional building.
Moving is a great cleansing process. Did you use the move to get rid of not only certain things, but also certain habits?
As for things, for sure, in just sixteen years, plenty of stuff will accumulate in one place. It was also about a complete resetting of the mindset because the way work was set up in Lighthouse differed vastly than what’s necessary in Dock. The premises there were not adapted to the new norm brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Some people have gotten used to their regimen over the past two years and don’t want to go back to the same place every day of the week. We as a company have no problem with that, and DOCK has facilitated that change. In the past, we each had our own table, whereas now we often operate in “hybrid mode” with ensuing changes in habits. We have prepared a user manual for the new offices, because if you do not have your own settled place but rather share space with others, this comes with certain rules and recommendations. This meant not only keeping the desk neat, but also the thoughts clear.
You have already managed to anchor yourselves in the Dock offices. How did you come up with the idea for their fit-out? Have you responded to any requests or ideas from employees?
On the one hand, we had an idea of what we no longer wanted and wouldn’t be using, and what we definitely needed. Like for instance, we had been lacking meeting rooms or smaller focus rooms over in Lighthouse, for example, to conduct video calls. But yes, we did perform an analysis of what our employees would like and would actually utilize. Thanks to this, we found out how they really work, what requirements they have, what they would like to see in the new premises, or vice versa, what they are accustomed to and what they wouldn’t want to relinquish. We developed a list of such nice-to-haves and must-haves, which, of course, we had to regulate a little – for example, a roof-top swimming pool would truly be out of the question. (laughs) There was also a requirement for a company kindergarten, which we could not meet, but on the other hand, bringing a child to the office with us is also not a problem. As long as it doesn’t disturb others at work, why not? It corresponds to our greatly affable corporate culture.
Who was behind the office designs and the entire moving process?
We were looking for a company that would solve our situation from start to finish – analyze, design, implement, basically turnkey. We ultimately opted to hire CAPEXUS, which did a superb job. We were probably a demanding client, because we wanted to preserve the spatial concept based on Feng Shui, which we had applied in Lighthouse. I had no idea what it would mean; first I thought that round corners and natural materials would suffice. Even CAPEXUS had to revamp the initial design according to the ideas of our CEO Milan Jasný, who also got Kamila Bajerová, a Feng Shui consultant, involved in the process, and all these efforts were ultimately successful. It is not only about those materials or the fact that thanks to one cactus, you prevent bad energy from entering, but about the entire layout of the space. Examples include where the CEO’s office should be, or reception… Everyone’s awareness of Feng Shui differs a bit, but in our company, it was probably the key principle that formed the offices.
Have you found the right balance to make the space suitable not only for work, but also for meeting clients or colleagues and relaxing?
We were definitely seeking that balance between beauty and function, because the essence is still offices, and having a lovely place inconducive to work makes no sense. It is not just about attracting applicants and impressing clients… In the course of functioning, there are always the little things that could be done differently, one might say. But the offices do fulfill our desired purpose, that is, people come here to meet causally, so ideas arise that could not have come about at any planned meeting. We allow employees to work from anywhere, and we really mean from anywhere, even from abroad, so offices are just one of the options and it depends mainly on what you want to do. Meet with the client or team, calmly prepare a presentation… For all this, the premises are ready.
Do you feel that since you moved, people tend to visit here more often than to the former address? Do they see the new offices as a benefit?
I believe they are happy that we cared about their opinions and that we involved them in the preparation of what the offices would eventually look like. They perceive as positive the fact that the company has invested in them. If people come here without being called upon to do so, that just proves it.
What are the reactions of visitors and clients? What do they like the most?
Our clients even want to come and see for themselves, because they may have seen our new offices in the media. The biggest local “guide” is a colleague Milan Myšička from the Sales Department, but other colleagues are also proud to be able to “show it off” to clients here. Most often, visitors are wowed by our sakuras (Japanese cherry blossoms) and ask if they are real. I say that we have offices of eternal spring, but they are not. (laughs) I enjoy watching people secretly admiring their offices.
You have a lot of greenery here. Is that intentional? Does it have a positive effect on work?
You bet! Greenery in the office is also meaningful according to Feng Shui, as it promotes a healthy spirit, a good climate and basically the more flowers, the better. In the former location we had a total jungle, and here we wanted to give it a semblance of order, but we definitely did not want to give up the plants. Some of the flowers are artificial, for example, the hanging ones, since caring for live ones would not be practically feasible, so we found a compromise. The function of the space as an office is still at its core.
How do you like being near the water? Did this element play a role in arranging the offices?
Not so literally, but in Feng Shui, the element of flowing water is important. The blind arms of the Vltava River are not exactly flowing, but we solved it, for example, by having a fountain at the reception desk that nicely supported this element. Something similar would be nice to see outdoors in the park… (laughs)
I assume you’ve gotten feedback from employees who have already acclimated. What do they praise and use the most?
They often highlight the Study Room or our Zen Garden, where anyone can hide away if they don’t want to be disturbed. No one here but the CEO has their own office, even the board members sit in the open space – which we call team islands – so if you want real peace and quiet, the study room is the place to go. It’s a no talking or telephoning zone. It is also great for people who prefer home office, but sometimes need real tranquility for work, which can be hard to come by at home with kids, for example. They also love our square, which is really a place for random meetings, whether at the coffee machine or regular snacks that we provide to employees. It’s a space in the middle of our floor plan that you have to walk through every time you go somewhere. Entire offices are, by the way, like a tiny town, we have quarters – team islands, “streets”, squares, and a bistro with dining room as a place to enjoy a quiet lunch away from the computer.