The agile working model in office design of Unilever Homebase

Unilever is the leading multinational company in the world. Recently, Unilever has operated in more than 190 countries and territories. The company always aims to develop sustainably, increase the quality of life and improve the environment through its products and services. In 1995, Unilever was officially operated in Vietnam with a commitment to create positive values for society, improve the environment as well as focus on human development. Unilever’s office is located in Ho Chi Minh City. 

In 2019, Unilever decided to undertake a new office design with the goal of developing talents through creating a modern international workspace that still conveys the core values and mission that the company is always pursuing.

Understanding the culture and spirit of the business as well as the goals that Unilever set for the new office, ADP has applied the most modern and optimal working models to the office design for Unilever, in order to create an internationalization space, but still retain the brand name and Unilever Group.  

Office design following Agile Working or Activity-Based Working (ABW) model

Activity-Based Working (ABW) model is a working model based on activity. The office is designed with many working areas, open spaces with different forms and styles for employees to freely choose. Employees can choose the space that best suits the job they are doing as well as combine with other experiences in the office to help them be more inspired and connected with the company. The Activity-Based Working ABW model is though still quite new in Vietnam, it is a favourite choice of foreign businesses for its flexibility, adaptability, well-optimized space and interaction improvement with the company and among employees. 

ABW model with a variety of areas and working forms
ABW model with a variety of areas and working forms is an international office design trend.

ADP has applied ABW model to Unilever office to match Unilever’s standards for offices in the region’s countries, as well as better support the staff’s activities.

The new office design reduces the number of fixed desks and increases support areas as: meeting rooms, discussion areas, cafeteria, etc. The variety of different workspaces allows employees to freely choose the workplace as long as they feel the maximum support, the suitability of their job and the most comfortable working experience. 

Office design following ABW workingmodel helps to promote interaction
Office design following ABW working model helps to promote interaction between employees

Individual spaces for individuals have also been reduced and replaced with common areas to encourage employees to interact with each other. The number of meeting rooms has tripled in comparison with the old design, from 32 to 93 rooms. Office design expands co-working areas with many different spatial forms: quiet space with high soundproofing standards for employees who need to focus, avoid noise; open space for groups of employees working together, encouragement of maximum interaction; and diversified meeting room areas to meet employees’ needs. 

The ABW model helps Unilever office design make the best use of the working area
The ABW model helps Unilever office design make the best use of the working area and space

The office design following the ABW model has a direct impact on the performance of the company’s employees. Open spaces and co-working areas enhance interactions between employees and community connection, foster collaboration, creativity, and comfort in the workplace. With the ABW model, Unilever office has been able to make optimal use of the area reaching 9m2/person and 12 m2/workplace meeting standards for the area of Unilever APAC’s headquarters; it also means that the capacity can reach to 800 – 1000 employees.  

Cafeteria with comfortable office interior designs 
Cafeteria with comfortable office interior designs and encouragement of interaction

Central Hub (The central area of Unilever office building) is the highlight of the company’s office design. This is an open area arranged in 3 floors of Unilever office building with the idea of bringing people to the center, creating a sense of community connection, promoting exchange and interaction between Staff. 

Office design based on the brand’s story

Not only a high-performing office, ADP also wants to create a workspace that connects the company and its employees. To that end, ADP has worked with Unilever’s brand teams to deliver stories about each brand through the design of Brand Hubs: Dove, Wall, Comfort, Knorr, Love Beauty, Vim … These are open discussion areas designed according to the brand’s context, colour, image, so that employees are inspired and ‘live’ with the brand. ADP has worked with brand management teams to understand their desired messages, thereby creating a workspace that can both imprint the brand and inspire employees.

A corner of the design of “Love Beauty And Planet” brand
A corner of the design of “Love Beauty And Planet” brand with an unique pink, and feminine style of office interior design.

Green office design meets LEED standards

Unilever office is designed to comply with LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) standards of the US Green Building Council (USGBC), meeting the criteria for using environmentally friendly materials, saving energy, reducing emissions, using renewable energy in an optimal manner and improving working quality. At the same time, ADP has designed a green office by taking advantage of natural light with the central hub around the floor and allocating many trees in the workspace. 

The outdoor space in Unilever's office design is full of trees. 
The outdoor space in Unilever’s office design is full of trees.

The project of Unilever’s office design is a very challenging project for ADP as it has to ensure the normality of daily working conditions for Unilever’s employees and the satisfaction of HSE’s requirements in office construction and design. With the professionalism and ceaseless efforts, ADP was able to complete the design with the best quality and handed over to Unilever on time. For each project, ADP always tries its best to perform its commitments agreed with the customers.