Q Lab opens: "We want to further develop our culture"

The Lufthansa Aviation Center recently introduced the Q Lab, a space for collaborative, agile work. In an interview, Bettina Volkens, Head of HR & Legal Affairs at Deutsche Lufthansa AG, talks about the purpose of this office space, the New Workspace and what it is like to be thrown out of your own office.

A large wooden grandstand with space for over 40 people, knobbly stools, a selection of chairs, a large yellow sofa, tables to roll, pull and adjust. A retreat area with modern armchairs and three open meeting rooms, which were once reserved as individual offices for executive staff and directors. The office wing owned by Bettina Volkens, Head of HR & Legal Affairs at Deutsche Lufthansa AG, is now mobile, agile and above all, open to everyone. Q Lab is the name of the new office space on the sixth floor of Lufthansa Headquarters at Frankfurt Airport. Q is the abbreviation of QUEST: "Quality and easy solutions tested". The aim of the area is to promote interdepartmental, agile cooperation.  Read the interview with Bettina Volkens to find out what lies behind this new form of office space, why the New Workspace concept is by no means superseded and what it feels like to be thrown out of your own office.

Mrs. Volkens, in favour of the Q Lab, workshops are now also taking place in your office. Did you find it difficult to do without your own executive office? 

I love my own office. It's always been more important to me than a big car. I have to get used to the fact that my office is there for everyone. Recently "my" room was booked from 13 o' clock, because according to my calendar I had an appointment at 12:30. It moved backwards, but the workshop participants were standing in front of the door and I was clearing my desk. That was unusual and that's not easy for me either. But I think it's important.

That you give up your office? Or that there are surfaces like the Q Lab?

Both! Especially in times of automation and digitization, it is incredibly important that different people come together with different ways of working. Personal communication, creative work - this is exactly what the rooms here are supposed to radiate. We want to facilitate cross-departmental collaboration and live the matrix concept, irrespective of lineage and formal position. We want to test what agile project work of the future can look like. We want to reduce interfaces between the individual business units and prioritize existing resources. We want to make more visibility possible for important strategic issues, experts and people. In short, we want to further develop our culture.

Five years ago you introduced the New Workspace at Lufthansa, the open-plan office without a fixed workplace. Does the Q Lab replace this concept?

New Workspace is an incredibly important step and remains the standard we are striving for. We see, however, that there must be an addition and that some rooms and equipment for flexible, agile working are missing. In addition, our colleagues tell us that there is sometimes a lack of retreats. We will take a close look at the users' experiences and carefully develop the concepts further. We have to position ourselves in such a way that our employees like to come here, that they like to work here and that they see the Lufthansa Group as an attractive employer. I believe that the workplace is always an expression of a certain culture. We want to work as a team. I want my colleagues to join in and help shape the process and then implement it quickly. We do not want to develop concepts for the drawer, but for the practice. This is what lies behind the agile approach. The rooms are only a means to an end.

Thank you for the interview!

Plenty of room for creative work.
Workshop: teamwork in a new atmosphere.
Old idea in a new guise: the phone booth.
Relaxation or sparring? The room is suitable for both.