The Art of Being the Best: A Global Prize for the Best Workplace

Agnė Žemaitė, Danske Bank Workplace Anthropologist

agne leesman


Global office trends are increasingly focused on employees, their motivation and efficiency. An effective workplace offers its employees the freedom to choose the most appropriate space to do their work. Starting the morning in the kitchen with a cup of coffee, finding time to read a good book in the concentration room or calling a client from the phone room. As a result of implementing these solutions at Danske Bank DC Pier, we were reviewed by the international Leesman Index which let us gain the 7th place among the best offices in the world!

 

What is the Leesman Index?

 

The Leesman Index is a tool for evaluating employee experience in the work environment. It consists of a questionnaire that allows you to assess whether an existing work environment is helping or perhaps prevents employees from performing their duties effectively. The best part is that the questionnaire is not filled by a specially selected jury, but by the people who actually spend their work days in the building. This model allowed Leesman to build the largest database in the world.

 

For us Leesman Index offered a great opportunity to find out how we were doing in comparison to other global companies, as well as to understand whether the problems we face are a commonality or only specific to our organization.

 

The Leesman+ certification received in 2018 in combination with being awarded the 7th place out of 971 offices in the global ranking proves that Danske Bank's working environment strategy is developing in the right direction. Of course, improving individual workplace remains our main task, but no less important is the alternative working space, the inner culture, and the common office environment that nurtures it. In order to create one of the best offices in the world, every piece of the puzzle is important.

 

How do we create work spaces at Danske Bank?

 

Danske is governed by the Workplace 2020 strategy, which aims to create a productive working environment for employees and to support them in their daily work. The most important thing here, is to find the right balance, as workspace requirements can be radically different for different specialists.

 

The creativity, productivity and willingness of different personalities to cooperate are also determined by the working environment. Practice shows that the success of employees depends on the possibility of changing their work space at the workplace, depending on the tasks currently being performed. As at home, different spaces are used for different activities: kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom. Each is equipped to best suit its function and human needs. The office is no exception: the work spaces here must be adapted to different situations.

 

How to become one of the best offices in the world?

 

My everyday task is to contribute to creating a more comfortable working environment. It is my job to help the core project team of architects and construction project managers understand how different departments work and how to anticipate the different needs of employees.

 

In order to hear every Danske employee, I use a variety of methods – from the quantitative Leesman survey to qualitative interviews or focus group studies. The inclusion of the Leesman survey as one of the mandatory processes for the evaluation of new strategic projects was my idea, but before the idea could be implemented we had to go through a long process and do a lot of homework: presenting the case analysis and then preparing, coordinating and implementing the process and its eventual communications.

 

To qualify for the Leesman+ category is a challenging task. The requirements are very high: a confidence level of 99% and a margin of error of 5%. I believed the evaluation of the staff at the DC Pier could be really high, so it would have been extremely disappointing if there were a lack of answers so that we could adhere to the formal criteria.

 

However, a few days before the closing of the survey, there was indeed a serious lack of responses, and the communication plan to reach the audience was already implemented. However, here in Danske there are no insurmountable challenges. Now I can remember with a smile how during those last two days I personally asked each employee to complete the questionnaire. It is clear now that determination has brought extraordinary results and proved that Lithuania is home to one of the best workplaces in the world.