Not only the building, but the hardware too is Cradle to Cradle. The way people work in the building also follows those principles. Veldhoen + Company developed the working and office concept based on the governance principle of the Municipality of Venlo. The terms ‘koersvast’ (stay on course) and ‘flexible’ are the connecting elements in this vision on ‘working in Venlo’.
The crux of the vision is that the municipal authority is not there for itself, but for its customers and partners in the chain. The contact and the collaboration with its partners must improve and the employee plays a key role there. The municipal offices are a flagship for the town and allow the employees to shine in their work and in the contacts they have in-house and with various partners.
The Cradle2Cradle notion – waste is food – is also applied on the people and relationships side. If contacts are one-time and one-sided, the employees have only a temporary role in an organisation. If they work together in a situation where the one party is stronger than the other, a system produces lots of ‘waste’. The council wants to avoid this. Its people are a sustainable production factor, their knowledge, skills, attitude and manners are appreciated. This positive perspective, together with the extensive support and training of employees by Veldhoen + Company, provides for food from the system, for a natural place in the chain.
The workplace concept is a translation of the desired way of working that Veldhoen + Company developed together with the council. This is apparent in the furnishing of both the public hall and the office building. To create as little waste as possible, it was important to first establish a good and transparent concept that can endure for years. Broad acceptance of that concept is then also essential.
So you see lots of open horizontal and vertical linkages in the building and there is plenty of space around the core for people to work together. On the lowest floors, the furnishing elements and agreed working methods were designed to avoid hierarchy. People should not get the impression that the council is more important than the visitor or partner.
This new way of working does not come about from one day to the next, so Veldhoen + Company as trainers, together with experts of the council, developed a support and training plan. Employees could strengthen themselves in 8 areas. That ranges from personal leadership and working to a plan to flexible conduct and leading from a distance. Completely focused and optional intervention does justice to the quality of employees and the desired way of working has been given a boost. Consistency in this development is essential. The moment at which the building is opened is important, but merely a moment in the development of the community. The terms ‘koersvast’ and ‘flexible’ will remain keywords in Venlo for years to come!