Accenture, Allianz, Ethias, Baloise… Why are they going through a relocating phase?
Last December, when sending our greetings cards we had to double check our address book, and update it ! Indeed, lately, many insurers are changing of offices. Why so many changes ?
Last October, Accenture announced that they would gather in a same building all its different offices. They chose the Tour-and-Taxi former ferry terminal. In this huge complex of 5.123 m² spread over 4 levels, the 1150 employees share 630 hyper-connected workstations. The rehabilitated complex has been redesigned for a Zen and friendly atmosphere with wood coming from sustainable sources and plenty of vegetation. A first in Europe! Why? To improve well-being at work (more natural light, silence room, library, a healthcare area) and implement highly technological devices and features to improve performance (almost everything is wireless), to reduce CO2 emissions and to be closer to a station and public transportations. Cherry on the cake, it is great publicity to attract young talent and retain employees, and a clever corporate branding move.
Allianz Benelux will soon move to its new office in the Northern district of Brussels. Why? A desire for a new passive, more efficient, brighter, more environmentally friendly building, combining comfort, modernity, technology and proximity to public transportations. The new tower, of approximately 26,600 m2 above ground, will foster all operational activities of the insurer.
Ethias wishes to leave its iconic headquarter in the Rue des Croisiers in Liège. Why ? The building, dating from the 60’s/70’s does no longer respect the Belgian standards. Modernizing the building would be extremely expensive. In addition, the lack of workspaces and parking spot is currently an issue. For economic and practical reasons, Ethias is therefore looking for a new HQ that could welcome its 800 employees that are based in Liège. The choice has not been done yet, although rumor has it that 2 options are considered: near the Guillemins station or Val Benoit.
The fintech Ebury, which specializes in financing exporters SMEs, is moving part of its London offices to relocate in Brussels because of… the Brexit! London will remain its worldwide HQ while the Belgian office will become its European center. Ebury chose Brussels because of the suitable regulation for its activities. Moreover, this move is also motivated by the average annual growth of the group, which has reached 60% since its foundation ten years ago. The company intends to double its workforce in the coming years.
And across the border?
Baloise Assurances Luxembourg has signed to join the « Wooden » project and will join Foyer and Lalux in Leudelange by 2022. Same as Accenture Belgium, its new 9.600m2 headquarter should receive the Well Building Standard certification, focusing on the well-being of the employees. Mainly built out of wood, and with a modern structure letting light in and encouraging human exchanges, it will be the first building of that kind and of that size in Luxembourg. The wood used to build the new offices has been sourced sustainably and comes solely from the Luxembourgish forests.
Why moving ? The Baloise workforce has grown extensively in the last years through organic growth and acquisitions. It was essential to expand the workspaces and improve the well-being of its 429 employees. In addition, the interior design did not encourage synergies between teams. The insurer will implement the « Flex office » policy: they will organize the workspaces according to projects and not departments. As a bonus, the brand new and modern building will be a good showcase for clients and potential employees.
The first mutual insurance group in France will leave its historic offices and will relocate in the 13th arrondissement of Paris during the fall of 2021. Indeed, their current offices will undergo new asbestos removal work and a complete renovation. The top management of the insurance company preferred to relocate to a whole new building that will solely host the Vyv group. The mutual insurance group gathers more than 50 mutual insurances (including Harmonie Mutuelle, MGEN or MNT) and wanted to be able to meet with and to organize meetings with its different entities. Additionally, this project responds to the employees’ request for wider and brighter workspaces.
In a nutshell, here are the reasons why an insurer could move :
- Rehabilitation: need for a bigger, brighter and safer building.
- Improve the employees’ well-being.
- Evolution of the workforce size: the need for bigger or smaller workspaces.
- Ecology: sustainable and eco-responsible building with a low environmental footprint.
- Accessibility and mobility: Getting closer to public transportations and stations.
- Technology: integration of new technologies to ease work, interactions and connectivity.
- Cost effectiveness: in terms of rent, tax and energy.
- Branding: improve corporate branding towards both potential employees and clients.
- Regulation: Brexit.