UNO November 2022

Natixis Villages: an innovative workspace concept

After living with the pandemic for more than two years, which required us to be separated by screens and distant from our teams, we understood that it was essential to create a disruptive space to promote collaborative and in-person work in the Natixis offices and, thus, create the ideal conditions for the hybrid work model. The Villages, a project we started in October 2021 in collaboration with Tétris, JLL’s architecture and construction company, is the realization of that possibility. They are, beyond a dream come true, a big step towards what we believe will be the true office of the future: a space that enhances collaboration and interaction—which is proven to stimulate creativity, innovation, and efficiency in our employees—through an immersive work experience.

The true office of the future: a space that enhances collaboration and interaction—which is proven to stimulate creativity, innovation, and efficiency in our employees—through an immersive work experience.

Do you want to work in the Amazon, while in Porto, feel the density of the forest and hear the sounds of the animals, while meeting with your team? The Villages make it possible. This space is based on a pioneering, creative, and dynamic concept, which we hope will inspire our employees and stimulate their imaginations, by creating travel experiences. On the third and fourth floor of the offices, employees can “travel” through four continents, and work in any of the 12 cities represented in the Villages: Manaus, Santiago, Dakar, Paris, Porto, Muscat, Mexico City, Shanghai, Tokyo, London, Bangalore, and Brooklyn.

The Villages are the result of carefully listening to our employees, of insights, and the fact that we have identified a work organization trend where the majority of Natixis employees prefer to work at the office for brainstorming sessions or to work in person with their teams. That is, they go to the office with the expectation of socializing and a time of true collaboration. We know that the work done at home is totally different from that done at the office, and so we believe that it is increasingly important to differentiate between remote and in-person, and above all, the tasks assigned to each of these spaces. In the Villages, our employees can experience a place of empathy, well-being, and closeness, where they can connect with their teams and be more creative as a result.

Each Village has been created, decorated, and customized considering the characteristics that make each of these cities attractive to visitors, combining the sounds, smells, and architectural elements that characterize them. For example, in the Porto Village employees are met by the aroma of Port wine, and encouraged for teams to work together in a space arranged like a traditional wine cellar. While in the Paris Village they can walk the streets of the French capital, or buy a typical croissant at a boulangerie. Any employee can reserve the space/city to make use of the Villages. The goal is that each employee can enjoy these new offices at least once per month, so by the end of the year they will have been able to experience a day’s work in each of the 12 cities.

Enhancing teamwork and diversity

The Villages are part of the BPCE Group’s WELL Program, which aims to nurture creativity through innovative workspaces and a new concept of offices that promote well-being, collaboration, teamwork, concentration, and inclusion, facilitating the exchange of knowledge and experiences.

Aside from giving new meaning to going to the office, Villages represent our diverse DNA. We have more than 1,900 people in our Porto offices, with over 30 nationalities. We believe that this new work experience and the contact with other cultures will help to enhance the diversity and inclusion that characterizes the Natixis team in Portugal and the Portuguese.

Technology as a binding element.

Technology has been and will be a great ally. It has allowed us to develop the immersive experiences of the Villages, the possibility for users to make a true connection with nature and culture, and the ability to feel the space through the five senses. Technology is used in each Village to release smells characteristic of the local cultures, and our ambition is to achieve, in our Paris Village, the live transmission of the city’s sky or one of its landscapes.

Each space is equipped with the best technological tools so that employees can work with their teams and with other Natixis colleagues around the world. These spaces include chargers, projectors, large-scale television screens, and a Microsoft Teams system for hybrid work meetings. In addition, each Village is split into three main zones: workstations (individual workplaces); meeting rooms (open and closed spaces for collaborative activities requiring visual and acoustic privacy), and cowork (places for collaborative tasks and informal meetings, soundproofed cabins, silent zones, a library, a dining zone, or a lounge area).

Essentially, the Villages project demonstrates our desire to continue to develop the Natixis Center of Excellence in Portugal, in Porto, and to create a space that responds to the working models of the future. We want to continue to grow and this expansion reaffirms the confidence we have in the talent of excellence existing in Portugal, and the way we want to position ourselves as an innovative company, continuing to gather talent from around the world.

Will you join us on this journey?

Etienne Huret
CEO of Natixis
He has thirty years of experience in banking and fifteen years as a consultant, in which he led major transformation programs in the banking sector. Fue CIO de Société Générale y Senior Leader de sus Global In-house Centers in Bangalore. He has extensive international experience in countries such as Portugal, Belgium, Romania, and India, where he has promoted an inclusive and innovative mindset, with a focus on diversity in leadership and technology.

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