The challenge: How to put employee wellbeing at the forefront of office culture
The people on the ground are the beating heart of any good business, with team wellbeing and morale often dictating the wider successes of a company. Indeed, for some companies, the happiness and engagement of their workers is front and centre of the business model.
Gorillas, an app-based grocery delivery service founded in Germany, is part of a generation of startups that puts worker wellbeing at the heart of its operations. And as one of the market leaders in their field, they seem to be doing something right.
‘We want to give our employees the importance they deserve’, says General Manager Alessandro Colella. ‘We were the first company to provide our bikers with a normal employment contract rather than a freelancer one, our crews in the warehouses are a vital part of our business…they make sure it all works.’
This same ideal applies to the 60 people Gorillas employs at their offices in Milan. For Colella, notions like respect and inclusivity are integral to Gorillas’ success going forwards: ‘Our policy is to have a team as diverse as possible…our objective is maximum social integration.’
When it came to choosing a workspace for the team, these core values of the company were front of mind, as was having a face-to-face environment to work within. ‘The pandemic showed to workers the possibility of smart working, but human contact within a team or in a company produces a special kind of power’, explains Colella ‘You can’t run a good operation with only online meetings…a common working space is essential to give everybody the interactions they need.’
‘A close team can sometimes feel more like a big family than a company, so I wanted to give the people that are giving it all into this thing the best possible office experience…a big family needs a nice big house.’
The solution: A space where human connection comes first in Milan
For Colella, the decision to choose WeWork was a no-brainer. In fact, unlike many businesses that switched to WeWork after time spent in more traditional office spaces, Gorillas was ‘born’ (as Colella puts it) at WeWork’s Via Giuseppe Mazzini.
‘I had no doubts about where I would base myself to start this adventure’, he considers. ‘As a company at the start of it’s journey we expected to grow in numbers pretty fast, so we needed a working space that could efficiently support this growth. The WeWork staff were able to predict this situation and offer us the best possible solution, giving us an area of the building with many spacious rooms that could guarantee us the possibility of close cooperation across the various teams.’
Colella cites a number of different WeWork spaces as having a direct impact on his team’s wellbeing, including common areas, breakout rooms and meeting spaces. ‘We even have access to outside areas to celebrate when we reach a goal we’ve been working towards’, he explains. ‘The free beer dispenser from 6 P.M. is an especially nice touch that everybody surely enjoys after work.’
The easy to reach, city centre location also made the working day far easier to navigate. ‘The possibility of getting to the working space without too many headaches was essential to us. It saves you from getting to work already stressed, half-tired. Time is the most valuable thing and we’re against waste, not only when talking about food.’
Colella hopes Gorillas’ time at WeWork will be a long one, and he’s excited to grow within the space WeWork offers. ‘We hope we’ll never have to experience a change in our working space. It wouldn’t be easy to find a better alternative to WeWork, that’s for sure.’