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Fonterra: Ways of working

Giving people more freedom and choice in how, when and where they work.

 "I enjoy the flexibility of working in an activity-based environment – to get creative in open, shared spaces and connect with colleagues digitally when needed, and to then retreat to focus rooms for more sustained, quiet time as required. I also enjoy the ability to move around, I think that’s important."  

Joyce Chan, Portfolio Manager, Fonterra Ventures


 

Flexibility in the workplace

Flexibility in the workplace is a key area of focus for Fonterra. When the team moved into our Fanshawe Street head office in July 2016, consolidating five of our Auckland sites into one, we committed to a new way of working.

The aim was to create an environment that inspired trust, visibility, welcome, collaboration and mobility.

Activity-based work

Fonterra Centre features an activity-based system that leaves behind ‘one size fits all’ accommodation, giving employees the freedom to work within a variety of settings throughout the day.

The six floors are open plan design with different work and meeting spaces, where each team is allocated a neighbourhood. Just like home where you use different spaces for different activities, Fonterra employees choose the setting they need depending on the activity they’re doing – including team meetings, process, collaboration, project or focus work.

Ways of Working: Fonterra Tour

No offices and increased visibility

In this design there are no offices, everyone has a locker for their personal items and desks can be raised or lowered to stand or sit, resulting in an ergonomic environment, and a much more efficient use of space and resources than previous offices.

One of the key design criteria was to increase the visibility of leaders. The leadership team made a deliberate choice to work the same as everyone else – that's a powerful message.

It’s been quite a transformation, but that doesn’t mean it’s been all plain sailing. An activity-based work environment takes time to adjust to and brings with it its own unique challenges. Employee engagement has been critical to the success of the project, and that continues today. Are we optimising all working spaces? Are we building cohesive teams? Are we catering for all personality types? These are some of the questions Fonterra looked to answer through employee engagement so that they can continuously adjust their environment to meet the evolving needs of their people.

Fonterra Centre is also designed to be highly sustainable and has a GreenStar rating of five. It’s a home that embodies how Fonterra wants to work into the future. Affording employees the flexibility to get the job done from just about anywhere is a big part of that. When individuals may need to work from home or different locations, they make it as easy as possible for them with bespoke IT solutions.

Collaboration and diversity

The new ‘Ways of Working’ has made Fonterra a better place to work. It’s increased collaboration across more diverse groups, contributed to a high trust environment and given their people more freedom in how, when and where they work.

Here’s what some employees have to say about it:

  • "I enjoy the flexibility of working in an activity-based environment—to get creative in open shared spaces and connect with colleagues digitally when needed, and to then retreat to focus rooms for more sustained, quiet time as required. I also enjoy the ability to move around, I think that’s important."
  • “It’s so refreshing to see our leaders out and about, I haven’t had the chance to meet them so openly before.”
  • “Some days it’s busy and I wonder where I will sit and then I try a new space and love it or meet someone new.”
  • “I never want to work any other way.”

Further resources

fonterra designed for our activities

Fonterra: Ways of Working

Fonterra presentation on activity-based work and an intuitive workplace.

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Ways of Working: Fonterra Tour