Welcome to the new Himalaya Lounge at ISS

Why invest in a workplace when many prefer working from home? In early 2023, ISS transformed its restaurant, reception, and meeting areas into the Himalaya Lounge, an all-day hospitality hub. This welcoming space promotes creativity, connection, and well-being, with a focus on sustainability and inclusivity.

Why have a great workplace? Why still invest resources in the office environment when studies show that many people actually prefer working from home over commuting to work?

There are plenty of good reasons, and they are neatly summarized in the recent Leesman report Pride of Place:

  • Improved image & pride help companies to stay successful in attracting and retaining talent.
  • Providing staff with a variety of workplaces to suit their mix of activities during the day helps them to be productive.
  • And creating enjoyable spaces for both formal and informal meetings enables knowledge sharing, social contacts, and the building of company culture.

All of these reasons played a role when ISS decided early in 2023 to transform its company restaurant , reception area and meeting room center into a new all-day hospitality hub, and baptized it ‘The Himalaya Lounge’.

The first thing you notice as you enter the Himalaya Lounge is the use of soft colors, fabrics, curtains, cushions, and carpet. There is a variety of sofas, high and low chairs, big and small tables. There are large plants and small trees. People sit chatting, others are working on their laptops, many are enjoying a coffee from the barista. There are breakfast options and smart fridges, and a self-service restaurant at lunch time. Tucked away in a quiet corner is the White Signature Fine Dining meeting area for exclusive guests.

By integrating Food, Meet and Work experiences, ISS has created a place that stimulates creativity, fosters connection, and promotes employee well-being. Not surprising perhaps for a company with Danish roots, the feel of the place is ‘Hygge’. This word does not really have an equivalent in English, but it resonates Harmony, Design, Comfort, and Togetherness.

As noise levels are a major issue even in the best of workplaces, special attention was given to acoustics. Hence, the soft flooring, the coated ceilings, the rich curtains, the upholstered chairs. “’Our aim was to create a space with a warm welcoming feel,” says Dominique Verlooy, Facility Manager at ISS, who organized and supervised the entire project in record-time. “Therefore, we made sure that the reception area and the entire floor are easy to navigate for people who are physically or visually impaired. ISS is a place of belonging for all our people.”

Environmental sustainability too was a guiding principle that informed material choices and design solutions. From energy-efficient LED lighting and smart home automation systems to eco-friendly flooring, ‘vegan leather’ and recycled upholstery fabrics, every element of the space was selected to minimize the environmental footprint. Existing furniture and interior elements were transformed into new products and granted a new life in other parts of the building.

“At ISS we believe that it is important to get workplace experience right,” says Bart Mariman (CCO). “We want the workplace to give extra energy to employees and provide features and qualities they cannot have at their homes. Employers should not force people back to the office – they need to make the workplace worth the commute.”

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