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Robert Walters to occupy the world’s first office based on neuroscience

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Robert Walters to occupy the world’s first office based on neuroscience

Many organizations are faced with the downside of hybrid working: all that working from home means employees feel less connected to their employer. Recruitment company Robert Walters has developed an innovative solution to this problem: the world’s first office interior design based on neuroscience. The result is a real community; a place people come to because they want to, not because they have to. The Vlaardingen-based company Hoogerwerf Projectinrichting is responsible for managing the project. The new office will be completed in May 2023.

“It is exciting to work on something like this that has never been done before,” says Peter Hoogerwerf, referring to the project to design the world’s first commercial building based on neuroscience. “The result will be an interior design based on people’s deepest impulses. The project is also collecting data that we can use in future projects. We will soon know exactly what parts of an office design resonate with a particular user group and which do not.”

For this project, Hoogerwerf partnered with Neuroventures, a specialist in neurological and behavioural science. This scientific research was conducted with Neurensics, the founder of neuromarketing research in the Netherlands and affiliated with the University of Amsterdam.

“Human behavior is determined by unconscious processes. So, you can only predict how people will feel in a certain environment by learning about their subconscious. The insights from the research formed the foundation of the new office design,” says Martin de Munnik of Neurensics. An office that brings people together Jose Bokhorst, who is managing director of Robert Walters Netherlands, says the company is looking forward to seeing the result. “Instead of asking Hoogerwerf to design the office of tomorrow, we asked them to design the office of the future! The office's function has changed, partly due to the corona crisis. We do not want people to come to the office because they have to, but because they want to be inspired and see each other in person. The function of an office should be to bring people together.” Creating such a community will also make the organization more attractive for potential new employees, expects Bokhorst.

Scientific research

The process of creating the ideal office design involved three steps. First, profiling interviews were  held with 18 subjects. These interviews tested how people responded to various conditions and what associations they made in the process. Various mood boards were then created based on these associations. The mood boards were displayed to 24 test subjects while they were simultaneously subjected to an MRI scan. This revealed which brain parts were activated and which emotions were evoked. The result was a scientific report which Hoogerwerf used as the foundation for the interior design of Robert Walters’ office building.

The neuro-office in practice

Throughout the office, the various spaces offer different sensory stimuli – including scent technology, the use of colour, and routing – that subconsciously influence the employees to use each space as it is intended. The most striking space is the arena. This area is not intended to make people feel ‘comfortable’, but in fact, make them more alert when they enter the space. This is the ideal environment to reach a peak and deliver top performance, after which the employees can recharge in a garden-like setting inspired by the Tuscan countryside. The needs of different groups in the building – be they employees, job applicants, or visitors to the office – are served based on their particular

About Hoogerwerf

Hoogerwerf has over fifty years of experience in office interior design. All our projects are led by experienced project managers. Thanks to our extensive knowledge, we always find the right solution within budget and ensure that each project is brought to a successful conclusion. 

About Robert Walters

Robert Walters is a global recruitment specialist. In the Netherlands, the organization operates under the brands Robert Walters and Walters People, with offices in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Eindhoven. The organization stands by the professionals it represents throughout their careers, among others in accounting & finance, banking, executive search, HR, legal, customer service and business support.