Architecture, Scandinavian design

How to give your employees community and unity – and get more innovation and growth

Tear down those white office walls and open up the building. Give your employees community and unity – and, in return, you will get innovation and growth. Step inside the Nordic financial and banking company Nordea’s newest headquarters in Copenhagen, and you will quickly realize that this is no ordinary banking building. Offices, meeting and conference rooms are placed along the sides and, in the middle, there is one big atrium. An atrium filled with light, nature and small work areas. The areas are defined by a couch, lamp and iconic Swan Chairs, set up in perfect circles.


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The building offers new ways of working – out with the dedicated work desks, and in with areas dedicated to your state of mind, and to give you the feeling of unity and community. “We’ve been working with flexible work desks for a while, but what truly matters in our newest building is that everyone can see everyone. If you are getting coffee, working on a presentation or meeting with clients, you are always able to see your colleagues. And this is the essence of the building – it gives our employees a better feeling of collaboration, unity and community,” says Helle Dahl, Nordea Workspace Management.

The Value of Unity The feeling of community and unity within your company isn’t just about social fun and games. It also benefits the employee, with its ability to handle complex work situations. “We know that open office landscapes clearly promote a community feeling. We communicate and involve each other much more and thus we simply get to know each other better – which results in not only our social relations being strengthened, but also more efficient knowledge sharing,” says Majken Matzau, CEO of Matzau Business Psychologists and Cand.psych.aut. She continues: “If we feel good, we do good. If we feel the community, we feel that we belong. This provides us with peace of mind and job satisfaction, which ultimately results in the ability to handle and manage complex work situations.”


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A Building that Support Life For Henning Larsen Architects, one of their main goals is to make their buildings liveable. The intention is that the architecture should support the way of life and, for Nordea’s new headquarters, that meant ensuring feasibility of community and unity. “Working on a project like Nordea’s headquarters, two major goals come in to play. The first one is humancentric. The building must support the people using it. In this case, the building had to support Nordea’s way of working, and promote unity and community. Which ultimately creates innovation and growth. The second goal is visual – it has to match the DNA of Nordea and the spirit of the Nordics,” says Søren Øllgaard, Partner and Design Director at Henning Larsen Architects.