APG initiates flexible working in fully renovated office buildings

Published on: 3 September 2021

After more than a year and a half of lockdowns and working from home, the Netherlands is slowly taking its first steps towards working at the office again. But is working “on the job” still the same as it was before the pandemic? APG has fully adapted to the practice of flexible working and is accommodating this with fully renovated offices in Heerlen and Amsterdam. But will employees be able to successfully adapt to both a new way of working and a new environment straight away? And what will the new workplace actually look like?

It almost seems as if this has been planned all along: the full-scale renovation of the APG building on Amsterdam’s Basisweg largely runs parallel to the period in which we were all working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is, however, purely coincidental. The Workspace Project, in which APG employees are provided with guidance to help them get used to flexible working in a renovated, sustainable building, was initiated long before the pandemic.

The crisis nevertheless provided the original plan with a new impetus. Paul Donners, Program Director for Realization Edge West: “Teleworking has always been part of flexible working, but it was certainly not common practice at that time. The lockdowns have proven that working from home can be ideal, particularly if you need to concentrate. There is less emphasis on that on the new work floors, partly because of the experience we gained during this time.”

Unnecessary occupation

Switching from a more traditional working environment with fixed hours and workstations to working from home and flexible working in a new building must be quite a step for many employees. And all that in just under two years. Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, says Donners. The implementation of the project is, of course, accompanied by the necessary challenges. “Employees no longer sit in the same chair all day. We have to find the right mix between activity and sitting at a workstation. In any case, we are not going to keep any workstations occupied unnecessarily. Do you need to attend a meeting? Then you will simply need to take all your stuff with you.”

So many generations, so many wishes
The interior of the renovated building, Edge West (of which APG is one of several tenants), will be modeled completely on this more “nomadic” existence that employees will need to get used to. This also applies to the office in Heerlen. The architectural firm Fokkema & Partners accepted the commission for the refurbishment. According to architect Rick Rijkse there were plenty of challenges. Especially because in a large organization like APG there are also many different voices. Rijkse: “APG is an organization where many generations work under the same roof. That led to diverse and sometimes conflicting wishes. It was precisely by speaking to the users and putting them first that we were able to arrive at a suitable design.”


Architect Noëlle Huijgen understood that APG required a design with greater diversity in terms of workstations and more space for video conferencing. “The pandemic brought with it in an increasing demand for ways to hold meetings and consult with one another digitally, as well as facilities to accommodate this at the office. Video conferencing has become an important means of communication. This is facilitated with clusters on the work floor where teams can meet digitally. Fortunately, this combination had already been included in the initial Workspace design. In fact, it turned out to be future-proof.”

But what will all of this look like? Watch the video below and see for yourself!