As an international company, Measuremen conducts several big international projects each year. Recently we had the chance to contribute to a unique project in Beijing, China at SAP. Below you can read Wilrik and Chris’ story about their experience as observers in Beijing!
What is an observer?
Observers are our data collectors when performing occupancy studies. They observe what is happening inside workplaces, education spaces and at the workspaces of organisations. They gather data on the actual use of the workplace, the work activities, employee experience, and the behaviour of employees at the office(s) of our clients.
Arriving at Beijing
What an adventure we had. The first Chinese project for Measuremen and our first real stay in China. And right away in the capital, Beijing! After getting settled on arrival day (which happened to be convenient after a ten-hour flight and six-hour time difference..) I was ready to meet Lucy of SAP. The office, located in the business and embassy district felt a bit like Amsterdam South, but way bigger.
The first thing I noticed was that SAP employees speak decent English. Maybe not very surprising for an international company but outside the office, you are at the mercy of hand signs and Google Translate. So this was a big relief that, at least in the office, communication was easy. After doing the last checks everything was ready to start on Monday. On Sunday our new colleague Wilrik arrived. We used this day to get accustomed to the district and the Chinese food (which is delicious!).
A great start
Right from the very beginning of the project, we felt very welcome at SAP. Employees were friendly and well-informed. Otherwise, they asked politely if they could help with anything (other than what we were doing, observing). Meeting rooms were not visible from the outside, so we had to open them. But instead of feeling disturbed they always thought you maybe had reserved the room and wanted to leave it ASAP for you. After making sure you only needed to do a quick check they were happy to stay. Of course, this was mostly during the first days, later on, they knew what was going on.
Overall, it was quiet at the office. Employees were working focused and meetings, calling or chitchatting were on a low volume. Or they moved to a meeting facility. With a quiet atmosphere, it was easy for employees to take a power nap. You may be surprised, but this is pretty normal to do. Have a hard time? Stressed out? Or just tired? Lay back in your chair or put your head on your desk for a quick nap.
Lunch and coffee time
Lunch is at the same time as ours, around noon. In the cellar, there was a huge canteen with a diverse buffet. For vegetarians like me, a simple “你有素食嗎?” and they tell you what you can have (because of the Chinese sure love meat). After lunch, it is usual to take a stroll through the office garden and take in some vitamin D. The office habits were similar to ours: Starting at nine, finishing between five and six. They drink plenty of coffee, tea and water and have a little meeting to start up the day. Conversations about regular life were normal, what did you do last weekend or planning to do in the coming days.
Free time to explore Beijing
We used our free time to explore the city of Beijing, such as the Forbidden City. Coming out of the metro it sometimes felt like stepping into a different city. It got bigger and even more traditional (six-lane roads were no problem). On Easter, we visited one of the new world wonders: The Great Wall. What an amazing experience that was. After finishing the project we were ready to go back home and catch the last hours of Kingsday. We like to thank Measuremen and SAP for this great opportunity to experience China and its culture. We felt welcome at all times and at ease with Chinese hospitality. Looking forward to coming back here for more adventures in this beautiful country!
Wilrik & Kris