Free seating = improved company culture

 

At JCP, the employees can change their seats as many times as they want in a day. Lars Terje Grorud, the CEO in JCP Norway, will tell us about their free seating policy and why it works.  

– At JCP it’s important to have interaction across all the departments, and I can safely say that free seating helps us achieve this to a greater extent, Lars Terje Grorud says.

JCP has had a free seating policy for about a year now and it has worked really well for the company. Initially, some were more skeptical than others, but after practicing this for a while, most of the people at JCP are satisfied.
– By having a free seating policy in the office you allow the employees to sit anywhere with anyone they want. Since we work so much across departments we can really see the benefits with this solution, Grorud says.

Become more efficient
Lars Terje Grorud believes there is a lot of positive aspects about free seating. The most important one is being able to talk to each other.
– When you have a conversation with someone, you are able to get to know the person which increases your understanding of the individual. The effect is that you can quickly identify a person’s strengths, and you will easily know who you should involve in a project.

At JCP, they believe in direct dialogue and the shortest possible distance between the employees. They also want to be a place where all the employees play an vital role and feel important.
– We believe we can achieve this by having everyone on the same floor. That means that the Managing Directors, the Creatives, Consultants, Project Managers and Event Managers all sit together.

Grorud thinks JCP has become a more efficient company after they started with the free seating policy.
– I think it has become easier for people to share information with each other as everyone are sitting in the same area. We don’t have any doors so the barrier for going and talking to people is lower than before. In addition we have seen that it is positive in relation to our common corporate culture, he says.

As everything becomes more visible, it is easier to be coordinated on values ​​and our goals. He adds that it contributes to a stronger community, which takes them to their goals faster. – In addition, getting to know each other and being inspired by a colleague is also fun!

A modern company
The office is designed in the way that you can plug in your Mac, have WIFI anywhere you sit and you will have an additional screen on most work stations. In addition, a part of the office is dedicated to a quiet zone.
– We work in a hectic industry so being able to just sit by yourself and work without being disturbed is important, Grorud adds.

After transitioning from a traditional office policy to free seating, Grorud has some advice he wants to share.
– When making a change, it’s important to give your employees time to adjust and get used to the new system. It’s also wise to remember that someone always will argue that having your own space is the best practice, but my experience is that most people like to sit anywhere they want. It also gives you a sense of working in a modern and dynamic company. By having a free seating policy I can safely say that we have become closer as a company and that is really cool!

Lars Terje Grorud, CEO at JCP Norway.