Like many other companies around the world, LEGO Group has embraced flexible work and gone hybrid, allowing employees to work some days from home and some from the office. But unlike the thousands of other organizations that threw together hybrid policies in the hopes that they would catch on successfully, LEGO’’s personalized, employee-centric approach has set them apart.
For starters, LEGO is a huge company, with over 24,000 employees around the globe. Its main campus, which we will be discussing in further detail, is located in Billund, Denmark, the home of LEGO. Second, a company this large and diverse has to cater to the needs of many different employees with different day-to-day responsibilities and varying personalities.
LEGO made this diversity of needs central to its hybrid work policy lending to to its great success. So what contributed to LEGO’s flexible workplace and why does it stand out from other corporate giants like Google and Apple?
Let’s dive into the reasons below!
LEGO’s “Best of Both” approach
Like many other companies, LEGO found that remote work brought about many benefits, like better work-life balance. Working parents found it much easier to balance caretaking and their jobs. Other employees felt at ease knowing that they were fulfilling their family obligations. Therefore, leaders knew they had to find a way to provide the “Best of Both” worlds– remote and in-office work. The answer was a structured, well-thought-out hybrid policy, implemented in 2021. This approach requires most employees to be in the office 3 days a week. Depending on the role, such as those who must be on the ground working in factories and in corporate, some employees come in more often. The goal of this model is to provide “individual flexibility without compromising team collaboration or efficiency,” as explained by LEGO Group.
Emphasis on employee well-being
The employee-centric approach might seem like the obvious choice. Workplaces should be centered around their employees. However, in practice, that is not always the case. Focus can fall on other aspects of the work environment, like boosting productivity and saving costs. While these are important, employee well-being should be the main priority. This is precisely what LEGO does, and it has proved incredibly successful. Placing an emphasis on employee wellbeing, LEGO aimed to build trust by providing autonomy. By allowing greater flexibility, they proved that they trusted their employees to do their jobs no matter where they were working from. This also empowers the workforce to take their success into their own hands, allowing them to develop a schedule and pick work locations that suit them best.
On the one hand, a big reason LEGO went for the “Best of Both” approach was to fuel connection, as they found employees were happier when making personal bonds, helping to reduce the loneliness that was a byproduct of working from home. On the other hand, employees needed the time to spend with their families, as this also resulted in greater happiness and work-life balance.
An individualistic approach
In line with their focus on employee-well being is the individualistic approach LEGO takes with their hybrid work policy. As we touched on briefly, LEGO looks at the specific needs of each person and their role. Every job has different requirements when it comes to space, resources, and focus time. Therefore, it was important for them to ensure that all of these elements were aligned with their team when developing their hybrid work policy. Some employees, such as product engineers, needed to be on the ground, while others required dedicated focus time. Another LEGO employee explained how her time in the office is important to “immerse herself in the brand,” allowing her to connect with the company and its purpose. This is extremely important to build a sense of community and belonging, which in turn improves retention.
To further this approach, LEGO has built an office that aims to offer the best environment for particular roles and tasks, which we will dive into in the next section.
Building the “right” physical workspace
While LEGO has offices around the world, their main campus is in Billund, Denmark and serves about 2,000 employees. To put their employee-centric, individualistic approach into practice, they have developed a campus comprising ‘neighborhoods,’ as they describe it. Each neighborhood has different spaces that serve different types of work. For example, employees have the choice between private booths to take calls and meeting rooms to hold larger gatherings. This is better known as “activity-based working.”
The best physical workspace not only boosts productivity, but it also builds connections. Therefore, the office has no permanent workspaces, only hot desking. This serves multiple purposes, from getting different employees to interact to ensuring everyone always has a place to sit.
Bolstering diversity and inclusion
A hybrid approach provides an opportunity for employees who wouldn't have otherwise had a chance to work. Some employees have a disability that prevents them from getting to the office. Or, as described by a LEGO employee living in a traffic-heavy city like Istanbul, she can work productively without worrying about getting to the office daily. Additionally, this approach gives more opportunities to women and parents who are responsible for childcare while also working a full-time position.
As exemplified by LEGO, for the hybrid model to actually work, you need to create an office, environment, and culture that employees want to be in. The first key is creating offices and work models that serve the needs of individual employees. Not all jobs are created equal, and your office needs to reflect that. The second key is prioritizing employee well-being as much as productivity. This truly sets LEGO apart from other large companies that have attempted to implement a hybrid model. It has given employees the flexibility and autonomy to be creative and productive.
LEGO Group’s “Best of Both” approach rests on the premise that working in-office and at home are equally important and serve different purposes for different people. From developing connections through proximity to balancing work and life responsibilities, LEGO’s hybrid policy is one that all companies should model themselves after.
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Annabel is a content specialist at deskbird, where she helps companies navigate the new hybrid world and build workplaces that people love.