Environment in focus as SEB relocates

May will see the first moving boxes arriving for SEB as the bank’s three Stockholm offices become one at Arenastaden. The new office has been a pioneering environmental construction.

SEB had been needing to bring its operations together for some time, as they are currently spread out across four different addresses in Stockholm. By moving three offices to a shared address, the bank hopes to increase collaboration and boost efficiency.

“We’re expecting the move to be noticed by our customers as well,” says Viveka Hirdman Ryrberg, Head of Communication at SEB. “We will also gain a better work environment because our new office will be completely adapted to our business.”

The fourth Stockholm office at Kungsträdgårdsgatan will remain the head office. Those parts of the bank where personnel have lots of customer meetings in the city will also remain at Kungsträdgårdsgatan.

Move coordinators in key roles

In order to manage such a major office move, SEB has been working strategically with change over a long period of time.

“We have a vast project organisation which includes organising the move,” explains Viveka Hirdman Ryrberg. “We’ve been working over several months on where to place the roughly 4,400 employees that are moving, and that’s been a huge challenge in itself, particularly since no organisation is static. Changes are happening all the time. We work with designated move coordinators, who function as the link between the business and the project, so they have a very important role in ensuring the success of the project.”

First arrivals in May

Not all 4,400 employees are moving in at the same time. The first half are moving in May and the rest will follow next year. The first group will be spread across several moving dates, because business-critical operations need to continue to function throughout the moving period.

“One of the biggest challenges so far has been encouraging our employees to feel enthusiastic about the move,” says Viveka Hirdman Ryrberg. “I think we’ve done a good job there. We’re generally working with a more agile approach and in cross-functional teams.”

SEB has offered employees the opportunity to carry out site visits and view the ongoing construction to create a sense of belonging and reassurance about the approaching change.

Flexible and open office layout

SEB has chosen to go against the trend of adopting an activity based approach in the new office. Each employee will have their own desk.

“Our employees really appreciate it,” says Viveka Hirdman Ryrberg. “But we’re also maintaining a flexible approach, so it’s easy to alter the layout and work spaces. We also have more project space for those who work a lot with projects.”

An eco building of huge dimensions

The new bank building is a serious environmental project. The building features a state-of-the-art indoor climate system that adjusts the temperature according to the number of people in the room. All heating is reused. All organic waste is taken care of via digester tanks and turned into biogas.

When purchasing goods, locally produced items are given priority to avoid transportation over long distances. Paper cups have been replaced with crockery, etc. And on top of all that, the bank has chosen to reuse over 30 per cent of all equipment during the move, instead of throwing it out.

“I’m confident that our employees will feel great pride over the fact that this building has been so carefully thought out in terms of its environmental impact,” says Viveka Hirdman Ryrberg.

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