SAY Studio redesigns 2,400 sqm PepsiCo into agile workspace matching needs of hybrid working

Say Studio, the UAE-based architectural and design consultancy service announced the completion of a commercial space for global F&B leader, PepsiCo. The brief was to design an agile, accessible and COVID-safe workspace – offering the company’s employees a more dynamic, flexible and long-term solution in light of the new normal.

 As the Covid-19 fog dissipates, more businesses are utilising agile workspace set-ups. PepsiCo, one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies serving more than 200 countries and territories around the world, approached SAY Studio to design its 2,400 m2, Middle East headquarters in Dubai’s Emaar Square. SAY Studio was tasked with providing a better working environment for PepsiCo’s employees using a more agile workspace.

An important part of the process was change management, which entailed getting employees onboard with the move from the traditional closed individual office layout to an open collaborative space.

Say Studio used software to create a real-life, 360-degree, virtual tour of PepsiCo’s new office for staff in advance of coming back to work

SAY Studio designed a variety of new work settings for the client, while showcasing all the different brands under the group’s umbrella. Notable design features include the F&B brand inspired café, games and training room that open to form a townhall, as well as the Library and Lab working spaces that give employees additional environments to focus and collaborate in.

While a significant number of the UAE’s workforce remain at home, property consultancy CBRE predicts a “hybrid approach” will be the trend for the remainder of 2021. What this means for employers is that they must find a way to create an office space which is safe, cost effective, has longevity and now more than ever, puts employee’s wellbeing first.

Matthew Sexton, Managing Director at SAY Studio said: “In commercial design, a number of clients have flagged workplace issues arising as companies adjust to life in the new normal. What this means for us as the deliverers of this new normal, is our work is intrinsically linked to change management, and the holistic process of implementing resilience within a workforce.

“As an employee you are typically removed from a business decision to upgrade or move offices, so many blue-chip companies are getting their workforce on board using change management techniques. Change is rarely readily accepted, and so part of our brief from PepsiCo was to ensure its workforce was as excited about the new office space as management were. Enabling employees to hit the ground running when it came time to return to the office was paramount.”

Say Studio used real-time rendering software to create a real-life, 360-degree, virtual tour of PepsiCo’s new office for staff to experience in advance of coming back to work. The tour included intricate details such as bottles in fridges and digital screens displaying previous campaigns. The virtual tour was rolled out during a company-wide meeting, allowing each employee to visit the new office space before their first day back.

Micheline Dantziguian, HR Associate Manager and Business Center Lead at PepsiCo added: “Implementing new ways of working means change, and change is not always easy. Coming back to work after the year we’ve all had is undoubtedly stressful. We wanted to ensure that our employees not only felt comfortable and welcome in this new environment, but also excited to experience it first-hand. Our employees are our currency and it is important we invest in them first. We’re glad to have come together as a family at this difficult time to enjoy this moment together, with minimal disruption. We’re incredibly excited and believe our employees will join back with renewed enthusiasm.”