Uhlmann tests new concepts for attractive workplaces

“The future belongs to those who tread new paths and the companies that make this possible. That is why employees are helping us to test and find out what makes a working environment attractive”, explains Kathrin Günther, Head of Business Unit Digital Solutions at Uhlmann.

Pilot project “Modern working environment” underway in Ehingen 
Uhlmann tests new concepts for attractive workplaces

What form do modern offices need to not only bring about optimum work results, but also to be attractive to employees and applicants? Uhlmann Pac-Systeme is currently working on an answer to this question with the help of a pilot project “Modern working environment” in Ehingen. Four hundred of the over 1,600-strong Uhlmann workforce are currently accommodated in the Business Park Ehingen and nearly 100 of them have been testing innovative workplace concepts since October.

Uhlmann has set up various zones in the 1,000 square meters of office space in the Business Park Ehingen – included are open-plan offices, colorfully decorated workshop rooms, and meeting “cubes”. There is even a children’s corner to help parents when child-care is lacking. Every employee chooses on a daily basis where he or she wants to work. “When colleagues arrive in the morning, they fetch their personal equipment from their locker, i.e., laptop, keyboard, mouse, notes, and a mobile phone. Depending on the work scheduled, they can join their team, work intently in the so-called focus area, or retreat to one of the booths to make phone calls. Comfortable seating areas in the lounge are available for conversations. Everyone goes to a workplace that corresponds with their needs and manner of work. The same applies to managerial staff”, explains Kathrin Günther, Head of Business Unit Digital Solutions at Uhlmann. Altogether, there are about 15 percent fewer workplaces than employees – this matches the proportion of desks that are usually empty because colleagues are away on business, sick, on vacation, or working from home.

Competition to attract good employees
Most of the employees for the pilot project come from the department under Kathrin Günther, which is responsible for digitalization issues. It was no chance decision to chiefly allow Uhlmann digital experts to test the new office concept. “The way we live and work has changed dramatically. Many people furnish their apartments using selected color schemes and have a variety of electronic devices. Who wants to sit in a gray office at the end of a long corridor, in one that is possibly equipped with outdated technology? The competition to attract good employees is constantly increasing, particularly in the case of IT professions. The future belongs to those who tread new paths and the companies that make this possible. That is why employees are helping us to test and find out what makes a working environment attractive”, explains Kathrin Günther.

Employees involved
The right to a say is an essential element of this process. A key factor was that Uhlmann did not want to impose a concept on the teams, but develop one in conjunction with the employees. The setup and relating rules of conduct were defined in workshops and with the support of a user committee that voices the opinions of the employees. An initial pilot phase runs until the end of February 2020. A survey among the pilot users should then reveal the advantages and disadvantages of the new concept. A decision as to whether and in which form the “modern working environment” should find its way into all Uhlmann offices will first be taken on this basis. “Uhlmann is currently building a new office building with 400 workplaces in Laupheim. Obviously, we are faced with the question of interior design and furnishing. Our decisions will depend on the results of the pilot project in Ehingen. Everything is conceivable: We may stick to classic offices, switch over to the open concept, or come up with a modified solution that reflects the feedback from employees”, says Stefan Meingast, responsible for the pilot project, commenting on further plans. 

Taking stock several weeks after the move, the first users are positive. “Together, we have ventured out of our comfort zone and gained a flexible working environment that offers many opportunities. This is a completely positive experience for me and I am glad to be a part of this team. All the involved employees gave us valuable feedback during the first weeks of the pilot phase. This open feedback has already enabled us to implement first improvements”, reports Hannes Schmid, Head of Projects Digital Solutions at Uhlmann.

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Uhlmann Pac-Systeme GmbH & Co. KG
As a leading global systems supplier for the packaging of pharmaceutical products in blisters, bottles, and cartons, Uhlmann Pac-Systeme GmbH & Co. KG provides flexible integral solutions for international pharmaceutical companies, generics manufacturers, and contract packers. On the basis of innovative packaging lines, services and digital solutions, Uhlmann sets standards in terms of quality, efficiency, and availability. As a total solution provider, the company offers consultation, project management, implementation, and services from a single source. Uhlmann Pac-Systeme GmbH & Co. KG belongs to the Uhlmann Group and, with some 2,400 employees, achieved a turnover of 426m euros during the financial year 2018/2019.Other companies which belong to the Uhlmann Group are Koch Pac-Systeme in the Black Forest, Cremer Speciaalmachines in the Netherlands and Wonder Packing Machinery in China. Central departments have been redeployed at Uhlmann Group Holding GmbH & Co. KG since October 2019. See www.uhlmann.de and www.uhlmann-group.com for more information.