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MSD Lebanon: A 10-Month Journey

Enabling a Future that Makes a Difference

“I want a more engaging management better connected with our people. We should be acting as visible leaders.”
Managing Director | Levant

Case Study Overview

Case Study Overview

A multinational pharmaceutical company with employees and offices worldwide

Organisation: Merck & Co. (MSD outside of N. America) Levant office

Location: Beirut, Lebanon

Key Concept: Building connection

Watch MSD Lebanon’s Inspirational Story


The Back Story

The Back Story

Merck & Co. (known as MSD outside of the US and Canada) is a multinational pharmaceutical company with employees and offices worldwide. As a company that prides itself in science and innovation, Merck has always been on the lookout for more effective ways of leveraging their workspaces for scientists and staff alike.

In 2017, MSD’s Lebanon office in Beirut had an opportunity to relocate. They decided to partner with Veldhoen + Company to explore how they could create a workplace of the future to support an energetic and motivated workforce that’s making a difference. To Okan Isikci, the local Managing Director, the office is more than just the physical space that associates work in. The workspace should be designed to help breakdown silos and help people better connect with each other.


The Challenge

As MSD's team continued to grow and transform, local leadership was concerned that the existing management style had become too cautious and conservative for the ambitious, young, and diverse workforce.

Merck’s Global Real Estate team initially felt hesitant about implementing a Future of Work concept in the Middle East. The Middle Eastern work culture is characterised by the incredibly fluid and complex external environment, and many teams in the MSD Lebanon office had already developed close-knit connections within their immediate teams. To some, the new concept brought about curiosity but also uncertainty and fear. The leadership team, on the other hand, had started to recognise that in order for business to succeed, people from different teams had to come together with greater ease, and the physical office environment should facilitate these connections.

Although over 85% of employees believed that the design of their workplace is important to them, only slightly over half (58%) thought that it created an enjoyable environment to work in. Although many employees (79%) considered that the culture of the Lebanon office was supportive to working in a mobile/flexible way, they felt limited by the design of the workplace and technology tools and infrastructure.

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The Outcome

The office of the future and new ways of working that MSD envisioned, designed and implemented with Veldheon + Company gave a clear picture of what this integrated approach can achieve:

  • Greater sense of pride
  • Increased productivity
  • A greater sense of community
  • A greater sense of engagement
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Results in Numbers

This 10 month project resulted in:
  • 100% employees agreed that the office was “a place I’m proud to bring visitors to”
  • 20% increase in agreement with the statement "The workplace enables us (me) to work productively”
  • Over 96% employees believed that the current workspace contributes to a sense of community at work
  • 96% of employees thought that the design of their workplace encouraged them to choose work settings/locations that best supported the different tasks
  • 76% of employees preferred or strongly preferred working in an activity-based way over old ways of working
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"What we are achieving as a business, and how we operate, could not have been done in the old environment."
Managing Director | Levant

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Ultimately, we will work with you to create a unique culture and environment where people will have the space to thrive, the freedom to genuinely connect with one another and will proudly work as a part of your organisation.