FastCompany Design recently talked about 3 ways Angela Ahrendts might influence Apple’s new Cupertino HQ ‘mother ship’ building on her experience of bringing the Burberry brand together under one physical roof:
- Office culture is crucial to creativity and product
- Corporate structure and symbolism matter
- There are no satellite offices.
But what if you have so many employees, they won’t all fit under one roof? What if your employees are ‘remote/mobile’ workers and live under their own roofs? Or what if you’ve got a mix? The same principles you’d apply in physical environments, you need to apply in your digital environments. Let’s look at Angela’s key points:
1. Office culture is crucial to creativity and product
Providing a clear sense of ‘home’ where your employees feel they belong is the start, the next is embedding your brand to build your corporate culture by making sure your ‘medium is the message’. Your intranet should have a clear ‘look and feel’ of your brand, have a tone of voice that sounds like your brand and functions in line with your values. This will help your digital brand to ‘feel like home’ for your virtual employees.
2. Corporate structure and symbolism matter
Angela Ahrdents talks about the importance of entrances and the organisation of the floors of the offices reflecting importance within the company with design at the top supported by merchandising and then marketing. In the digital world, this is your site navigation – think about having your strategy as your ‘home page’ where all employees see the same messages – then arrange your navigation to reflect your organisation structure. In offices, it’s easier to design gathering points to ‘keep the energy flowing’, in a digital environment, this needs to come from web meetings, ‘face to face’ meetings (think Google Hangouts and Skype calls), and profiles that can be personalised and which facilitate employees finding each other, building networks and engaging.
3. There are no satellite offices.
Each of the Burberry offices is designed to look like an extension of each other. Consistency is key in brand building to help employees “feel the brand” wherever they touch it – and the digital space / intranet is no different to a physical office. Every employee needs to access one intranet where the experience is consistent no matter where in the world they are, what department they work in or what task they’re trying to achieve.
My take outs:
- Your intranet ‘home page’ is your virtual home – build your digital environment to mirror a physical environment in a way that looks like, sounds like, performs like and ‘is’ your brand.
- Keep the energy flowing in your intranet – design meeting places and personalisation enables employees to build a sense of belonging and to find and engage with each other.
- Consistency is key – every employee needs to have the same experience to feel equally at home.
How at home are you in your digital work environment? If you have corporate offices, is the experience the same – or does it differ?