Creating a flexible and collaborative workspace

EY, Amsterdam

Ernst & Young (EY) exists to build a better working world. It’s constantly evolving its workplace transformation programme, EY@Work, to deliver exceptional environments and experiences for its people. What’s more, to maximise the value of its real estate investments. In our office design in Amsterdam for EY, we created an innovative, flexible space for a new generation of EY people.

We introduced new ways of working, by developing new workplace strategies and design solutions. The project marks our first collaboration on mainland Europe, having already worked together in the U.K and Asia.

At a glance

  1. Introducing new ways of working with workplace strategy and design consulting.
  2. The space’s flexibility allows people to choose how and where they do their best work.
  3. 80% of the work settings are dedicated to collaborative working.

Workplace strategy

We partnered with EY to create an innovative environment focused on future of work principles. During the strategy process, we engaged with 20+ people from across the business in a number of workshops, interviews and reviews.

First, we reviewed EY’s design standards with the local team. Insights from our sessions with EY leaders and staff allowed us to challenge the existing spatial guidelines. As a result, we redistributed the ratio of individual, collaborative, and hybrid settings towards the latter two.

Then we asked, “what does your future workplace feel like?”. We learned it was vital to create a sense of belonging. Because EY staff can spend up to four days a week at client sites, returning to the office must feel like coming home. In addition, the office needs to be a desirable place to work, drawing staff from across the EY campus and encouraging them to come and experiment with new ways of working.

Our office design in Amsterdam for EY achieves this by combining a hospitality-style experience with flexible spaces that support different collaboration needs.

View from meeting of office design in Amsterdam for EY

New ways to work

Our brief was to build a culture of ideas sharing. In the previous configuration, individual work was predominant in the layout. So, our design solution decreased the number of individual work points and increased both ‘hybrid’ and collaborative settings.

The project sets a new benchmark for future spaces. Furthermore, the space clearly demonstrates the way the next generation of talent wants to work. In addition, aligns with the purpose of the office to collaborate and connect with people and brand. It takes onboard feedback around the challenges of remote training and mentorship for junior staff members.

ey-amsterdam-office-interior-workspace The 'ideation court' is an easily reconfigured space with layouts guided by floor graphics.

An office designed for interaction

EY’s people are entrepreneurial. We focused on understanding their behaviours when developing a concept for The Dock. A community workspace for the ‘loading and unloading’ of ideas.

In response, an ideation court sits in the centre of the plan of our office design in Amsterdam for EY. Guided by graphics on the floor, the team can quickly reconfigure the space to suit their needs.

This energetic space is designed for the lively sharing of ideas. However, we know that blocks of collaboration are often punctuated by quieter periods of focused work. Research shows that noise levels in open offices can be distracting, so we sprayed a recycled acoustic product onto the exposed ceiling, which helps to mute the sound.

View from meeting of office design in Amsterdam for EY
View from ideation court of office design in Amsterdam for EY

EY is known for its people culture – respecting diversity, prioritising team work and promoting wellbeing.

Thom van Hoefen Wijsard, Europe West Design & Projects Leader, EY

The design principles for the Dock are:

  • Flexibility: a space that is fast to adapt and easy to experiment in
  • Less ownership: broad capacity and choice and no fixed-desks
  • Furniture-led: a range of furniture typologies to support different needs
  • Agile experience: supporting a connected remote, office and hybrid workforce
  • ‘One EY’: a collaborative environment with multiple communal and shared spaces
  • Mission-driven: combining EY’s global values with the local culture

Changing the nature of ownership

You enter The Dock into a space with a variety of seating that acts as a social hub. With views out to the water, The Pier offers multiple settings to work and meet. There are no fixed desks.

Even so, bookable meeting rooms provide more privacy when needed. Also, a study area at the back offers individual focus settings, such as one-person booths or desks for heads-down work.

View from tea point of office design in Amsterdam for EY
View from booths of office design in Amsterdam for EY


Completion date





6,000 sq ft


Alex Kendrick (+ video by Stijn Poelstra)

Discuss your workplace