Balluff builds new building: On Wednesday the Balluff Executive Board met with representatives from the leading architecture firm Grüntuch Ernst Architects from Berlin, the shell construction company Gottlob Rommel from Stuttgart, as well as the Mayor of Neuhausen Ingo Hacker, in a small group for the symbolic groundbreaking ceremony for the new office and administration building. «We are delighted that the construction work is now getting started», says Balluff Managing Director Katrin Stegmaier-Hermle. «The new building is a clear commitment to the location of Neuhausen and our 100-year history, which connects us to the community. We are proud of what our company has achieved in the last 100 years.
The new building marks another important milestone in our corporate history.» The planned new building at the existing premises between Zabergäustrasse and Schurwaldstrasse offers office workplaces for more than 530 people, as well as a company restaurant with capacity for over 280 people. If everything runs according to schedule, the shell should be completed by July 2022 with the building completed and ready for occupation the following summer. With an investment volume of almost EUR 60 million the construction project is one of the largest single investments for Balluff in the company’s history.
Multifunctional office and administration building
In future the new building combines the office spaces, which are currently spread out over several locations in Neuhausen, some of which are leased, in one central location. Together with the building complex built in the 1980s on Schurwaldstrasse, the new multifunctional office and administration building with an area of 24,100 square meters is the new campus.
«We are consistently developing our location in Neuhausen into an innovation and competence center for software and IIoT solutions, opto- and magnetoinductive sensors, as well as RFID», states Balluff Managing Director Frank Nonnenmann. «Our new location concept with the new building and modern working environments makes an important contribution here. It contributes to our future viability and competitiveness at the location and helps us to be perceived as a modern employer in the region.»
Modern working environments
The up to 12 meter high building is regularly broken by green atriums, which provide natural lighting for the areas underneath. Each atrium has a different design. Varied views and openings are created for the staff. The external facade consists of a metallic curtain, which makes the building seem alive with its gentle movement.
A wide foyer which cuts through the building in a T-shape and serves as an internal artery, open communication areas, and the new company restaurant provide central meeting places for Balluff’s employees. «This concept ideally maps our growth plans and future alignment: flexible, open-plan working environments which foster communication and collaboration in projects and provide space for innovative work», explains Stegmaier-Hermle.
New type of collaboration
Coinciding with the start of the construction of the new office and administration building, Balluff is also developing a new concept for the way in which it should work together at the location in the future and once the pandemic is over. The majority of the Balluff staff from the indirect areas have been working remotely since March 2020.
«We thought about how we would like to work together in the future at an early stage», says Stegmaier-Hermle. «The pandemic further accelerated this process. We are certain that a return to the time before corona is not sustainable and want to make it possible for our staff to work more flexibly at the location, but also on the road or from home.»
Test run for new working model
Balluff has set up a so-called «New Work Area». The new working model is to be tested there. Different teams will try out the new office on a weekly basis. «For us it is important not to simply impose a concept on our employees», explains Stegmaier-Hermle. «Therefore, we are relying on the feedback from the test phase and also including the experiences from mobile working in order to develop an optimal solution for the location.»
Modern workplace concept
The 360 square meters are designed for roughly 22 people and equipped with state-of-the-art technology: Height-adjustable workstations with two monitors, universal connections for laptops, personal lockers, or flexible moderation media such as whiteboards. In addition to the workstations in the open-plan office, there is also the option to seclude oneself. Either in one of the so-called telephone booths or in special quiet areas. At the same time, the employees can choose their workstation flexibly depending on the task.
«We pay particular attention to the design of the meeting rooms. Hybrid meetings – i.e. meetings where participants are connected on site and by video – are just as much part of the concept as meetings where the focus is on the creative exchange of information and ideas», states Managing Director Florian Hermle. «This will create the possibility for an open and flexible exchange in the project work.»