Swiss Re Barangaroo
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Swiss Re Barangaroo

Nicole England

Hassell has established valuable cultural and operational benefits for reinsurance firm Swiss Re in designing its new Sydney office.

When Swiss Re first considered a shift to Barangaroo South, there was some hesitation. “I must confess to a little bit of nervousness,” says managing director Mark Senkevics. “It’s on the city fringe, whereas previously we’d been in George Street, very close to all the shopping. Also, we were moving to an agile workplace.”

But now everyone’s become used to a 10 to 15-minute walk for lunchtime shopping, and, with a fresh focus on health and wellness, even talk about the extra steps they’ve taken each day. “So the feedback has been great,” Senkevics says.

The company worked with design practice Hassell to come up with their flexible floorplate which meant they could move two-and-a-half floors of people in their former offices to just one in Tower Two.

Workstations can be used either sitting or standing, there are quiet zones, “think tank” rooms and larger spaces for teams.

“Everyone is enjoying the flexibility of the different spaces available here, and are now utilising them even in ways we’d never envisaged,” Senkevics says.

“A very long table that was once described as a likely ghetto is now often used by people who sit together and get involved in conversations about what’s happening in the business and other areas.

“They’re just organising their own thinking around the spaces which is our broader initiative of ‘own the way you work’.”

The 6 Star Green Star Office Design rating was another major lure for the company which has itself been carbon-neutral for a decade and sees sustainability as a brand value.

Stunning views of the harbour and Harbour Bridge are there for everyone, with Senkevics the first to give up his own office.

“The whole environment helps to inspire a little bit more creative, innovative thinking,” he says.

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