MOL Campus Aims to Lure Employees Back to the Office With Human-centered Spaces

Office Market

MOL Campus, the tallest building in Budapest at 143 meters, is positioning itself as the office of the future, offering innovative and attractive workspaces designed to entice employees back from the home office era.

In a post-pandemic world where hybrid work models are becoming the norm, workplaces seek ways to retain talent and provide optimal working environments. The headquarters of energy company MOL, inaugurated less than a year ago, hopes to meet these demands by creating a work atmosphere that combines the comforts of home with the luxury of a hotel.

Unlike traditional Hungarian corporate offices, this structure stands out as Budapest’s tallest building. Absent are the usual MOL colors, logos, and corporate identity elements. Instead, it features bright, spacious spaces with plenty of natural light, panoramic views, and an abundance of live plants.

The design incorporates angled corners, natural woods, and a blend of monochrome and metallic finishes, while vibrant color combinations like pink and red, blue and green, and bright and pastel hues add a touch of elegance. However, an attractive appearance alone is insufficient to attract top talent.

“We wanted the employees to feel at home here, comfortable, in bright spaces and surrounded by soft materials, cheerful colors and natural plants. This is to attract and retain young talent, providing them with a working environment where they can feel comfortable and work in an inspiring environment that stimulates their creativity,” said Balázs Turai, an architect at Minusplus, a 20-person architecture and design firm in Budapest, responsible for the interior design of the building.

Sense of Community

Emphasizing the human-centered aspect, the architects dedicated considerable thought to the functionality of the building. Interior spaces were designed to maximize interaction, fostering community and inclusiveness.

“In designing the spaces, we tried to maximize the number of meeting points, supporting real human interactions to create inclusive, inspiring community spaces,” explains Donát Rabb, co-owner of Minusplus.

MOL Campus utilizes space in an innovative way, the designers insist, putting an emphasis on co-working. The podium houses various collaborative areas, such as project- and workshop rooms or coworking offices, while the 28-story tower’s “triplets” (three-floor department sections connected by internal staircases) serve as staff floors.

Lounges and tea kitchens are available on all levels, and each triplet has its own social areas to encourage teamwork. Desk sharing is implemented throughout the headquarters, meaning employees do not have designated desks. Instead, they can choose from different working zones in the triplets: group collaboration spaces at the bottom, focus workplaces in the middle, and quiet zones at the top.

However, those wishing to work alone are also catered for, as focus rooms and phone booths are scattered across the building to provide areas for individual work.

Additionally, MOL Campus offers conference rooms and various meeting, workshop, and project rooms in its podium section across five floors. This flexibility allows employees to select the most suitable environment for their work. There is even a palm tree-filled working garden on the third floor for quiet and focused tasks.

Abundance of Amenities

The HQ also boasts an array of amenities to enhance the employee experience. The central atrium leads to the first-floor staff restaurant, which defies the stereotypical office canteen with double-height ceilings, panoramic views, and a terrace.

Adjacent to the restaurant, employees can find convenient services such as an IT and HR helpdesk, an internal post office, a mobile phone shop, a tailor, a dry cleaner, and the company doctor’s office. On the ground floor, a fully equipped gym, with saunas, massage facilities, and a beauty salon and barber shop, create a “small town” ambiance. These onsite services aim to alleviate the need for employees to seek them elsewhere while also promoting a healthy work-life balance.

In addition, a kindergarten exclusively for the children of MOL employees has also opened up next to MOL Campus. This means working parents don’t have to hurry before or after work to drop off or pick up their kids.

MOL Campus also boasts excellent views of Budapest, especially from the building’s panoramic roof terrace, some 120 meters above the ground. The vantage point is also accessible to members of the public who wish to take a look at one of the city’s many well-known landmarks. In addition, according to the current plans, a restaurant will open soon for those looking for a meal with a view.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of June 30, 2023.

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