The ‘communication stairs’ strike the eye at once. All floors in the municipal offices are connected to one another by open staircases in an open space above the entrance. This creates not only the feeling that ‘everything is visible’, but also that you are welcome as a local resident, supplier or collaboration partner.
With the newly developed ‘Venlo way of working’, the Municipality of Venlo wants to achieve certain goals. The highest goal is to improve collaboration, not only within teams but also between teams and departments, so Veldhoen + Company advised the council to apply the open communication stairs as a connection between the floors.
These open staircase connections are situated centrally in the dynamic collaboration zone with open workplaces, lounge and service island. Around this core are quiet individual working zones.
On and around the stairs, people can meet spontaneously. This sets the communication in motion and people get to know one another better. This is the starting point for sharing more knowledge, which improves the service delivery.
Sharing knowledge is one goal of the Municipality of Venlo as an element of working more on a project basis, not only within the council but also with collaboration partners. Working together happens especially in the “plinth”: the ground floor and first floor. At this point the communication stairs are also accessible to the public. You do not need a pass.
The communication stairs have yet another advantage. For employees it is more attractive to use the stairs rather than the lift. More exercise is healthier. Sitting is after all the new smoking, people say today. And healthier employees are more effective and productive.
Apart from that, Venlo council uses less energy to power the lifts.
Veldhoen + Company has often applied the principle of communication stairs, and with success. It all once began at Interpolis in Tilburg more than 20 years ago, but it has proven a success at our latest project at the Province of Noord Brabant as well.