Customer Stories

The new global work model at Ernst & Young

The right combination of inspiring work space design with integrated technology and desk sharing policies for smart working.


The Milan headquarters of Ernst & Young, the international auditing and consulting firm, is located in the historical center of the city. The objective of the new workspace was to break down barriers and enhance collaboration between multidisciplinary groups. The new space design should facilitate a radical transformation of the organizational culture.

“The focus on employees was the key guideline of the project” – says Stefano Riva, Mediterranean real estate leader of E&Y. From a design point of view the move to the new facility was an opportunity to implement the “E&Y@work” model.

E&Y is applying this model globally on 3 levels: the design of the physical space, digitalization of the workplace and reorganization of work towards smart working. To optimize the usage of space, desk sharing policies have been applied and in some services it reaches a ratio of 1:4. which is balanced out by the great availability of meeting spaces and other complementary zones.

Another example is the move of 2500 employees within Madrid to more inspirational spaces integrating top level technologies. To enhance collaboration between managers and their teams, Ernst &Young eliminated closed offices which helps to speed up decision making and mentoring of young employees by senior professionals. As only 43% of the employees are daily present in the office, desk sharing has been implemented here and will follow in Barcelona, Malaga and Valladolid.


In Milano the new E&Y headquarters consist of several buildings of almost 19,000 sqm, with completely optimized space usage and rationalized circulation, divided into 10 levels. There are offices for 2800 employees, 1200 desks and over 170 collaborative zones that can be used by everybody without respect of hierarchy.

The key concept of the project is the “activity-based” model providing specific spaces for different tasks, leading to greater efficiency for employees, colleagues and clients.

“The new space design is translating a corporate culture oriented towards an office system that is no longer ‘mechanical’ but similar to contemporary digital ‘liquidity,’ interpreting the international guidelines of E&Y”

Alessandro Adamodirector at DEGW

This new office system includes focus rooms, just-in-time spaces, project rooms, collaboration rooms, team rooms, meeting rooms, virtual collaboration rooms and open areas – touchdown zones, presentation points, brainstorming areas, floor hubs.

Special attention was paid to the choice of seating to facilitate easy reconfiguration in training rooms as well as interactive meeting rooms. The Steelcase solutions have been developed based on research on how people interact in the work environment and create engagement.

“With EY& we are collaborating on a global level”

Paola MunariSteelcase strategic account manager in Italy

We worked together with our dealer-partner Office Solutions and the architecture studio DEGW to create a workspace that corresponds to the strategy of E&Y, offering continuity and comfort for the end user.

The selection of products was made according to the requirements of the project:

In the open-plan areas, with workstations used by different people every day, we use Think chairs, that adjust themselves automatically to the weight of the user.

In the training areas the need for quick reconfiguration led to the choice of Node chairs, which combined with the Verb tables allow to shift from conference to teamwork mode in a seamless way.

For other training areas where it was necessary to optimize space, we recommended Eastside chairs on wheels, which are easy to stack for storage, and the FlipTop folding tables.


“One year after the move into the new offices the feedback has been extremely positive– says Stefano Riva. – People have quickly adapted to the new spaces, a sign that the constant information about what we were doing and the change management policies have led to good results.”

Dealer: Office Solutions, Milano
Consultant: DEGW, Milano
Products : Think chair, FrameOne table, Eastside chair, FlipTop table, node chair

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