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The staircase and conversation pods are central to employee engagement. Photo: Jithendra M/Mint

by Aparna Piramal Raje

Sometimes the most old-fashioned solutions solve the most new-age problems. Such as the artfully crafted staircase at global reinsurance company Swiss Re’s new Bengaluru facility, which it occupied in July. Easily accessible, and spacious enough for a group conversation, the staircase does more than just connect the office’s four floors. It helps keep employees fit, active and engaged with each other, throughout the workday. The staircase’s central location serves as an ideal venue for collaboration zones, according to the employees. Semi-enclosed meeting pods, relaxing lounge chairs and high-tables with bar-stools are sprinkled around the staircase on every floor, enabling employees to interact with each other, eschewing lifts.

Working together

For Swiss Re, employee fitness reflects corporate strategic intent. “Our mission is to make the world more resilient. We apply our research on resilience to our workspaces,” says Sonal Tivarekar, head of strategic initiatives. Long-standing research shows that modern-day sedentary lifestyles are highly correlated with chronic diseases, hence the ‘walkable’ workplace. The facility’s other wellness measures include an expansive gym and height-adjustable sit and stand desks…


Abstract art dots the passages at Swiss Re. Photo: Jithendra M/Mint