Format D enjoys working outdoors. Their “pop-up office” is located on the grass in front of the HFF.

Wouldn’t we all like to have fun at the office? Sadly, for most of us it doesn’t always work that way –but Format D is rather different. At the Munich digital studio, a two-weekly “workation” has been part of the routine for years. It was even the subject of a tongue-in-cheek report in brandeins, entitled “Dial Up the Party Vibe, Please” (in German; The message was that Format D creates a relaxed, laid-back environment for its development operations and ensures the users have at least as much fun as the team does. And it hit the mark. “We did get more recruitment applications, although they weren’t exactly breaking down the doors,” recalls Carina Spitzner, responsible for New Relations – in other words, the newcomers and onboarders in the currently 25-strong team. Carina is sitting before a wall lined with stacked logs, the “Bavarian room.” “We have an open office,” she explains, with the management board at the heart of things because the room has long been taken over by the creatives for brainstorming sessions.


The message was that Format D creates a relaxed, laid-back environment for its development operations and ensures the users have at least as much fun as the team does. 

Breaking down structures

In fact, Format D is generally in the business of breaking down structures and tackling new ventures. “We leave our familiar surroundings and head for a new environment. Outdoors, perhaps a natural setting,” explains Carina. They leave their comfort zone behind and free their minds for other people, new thoughts. Carina has spent the past two weeks working on the mcbw event “Pop-up Office,” to be located on the grass in front of HFF Munich, the city’s film, television and media school. A perfect fit for this year’s mcbw motto of “How to Co-Create with Nature.” Working together outdoors, being open to everything and everybody that swings by.

For the past eight years Format D has traveled to a farm in Riedering near Lake Chiemsee, where the group spends a day and a night together outdoors. This year the destination of the annual excursion is an old railway car in the heart of Munich. In front of HFF Munich and opposite the Alte Pinakothek, it could hardly be more central. Participants can spread out picnic blankets on the grass or work in a big marquee that protects them from rain and sun. Or, of course, in the railway car itself. The Pop-up Office is open to anybody that wants to drop in. It is hoped to attract input from as many people as possible as they visit workshops, listen to talks or simply decide to work somewhere else for a change. Carina notes that the idea has proved valuable in the company’s work with and for customers: “It’s great to have them sitting next to us as we gain fresh perspectives together in a whole new environment.”“

Unplanned spontaneity

But just how effective is the move? Carina replies honestly, “We realized that our productivity increases when a different kind of interaction develops. It’s most noticeable in our creativity, which may not have been planned that way but just evolves from the situation. It’s really exciting.” Hand on heart, who can keep up their productivity levels through a full eight hours in the office? But a day outdoors brings a whoosh of energy into the office and changes the way people interact with each other. New Relations Lead Carina points out, “By paying attention to how we work together, we get the right people coming to join us. People that are a good fit for our culture, who complement and strengthen us.”

As spontaneous as the “fresh air day” sounds, the overall structure is meticulously planned. The morning will start with a talk followed by an open discussion session, lunchtime will be a communal break with a short pop-up yoga session, and a further talk will follow in the afternoon. An after work wind-down will start around 5 PM. There is no maximum number of participants. “I’d say the maximum is probably around 300, but that might be a little extreme.” But “a little extreme” is pretty good if the pay-off is new design ideas outdoors, in the fresh air, at the heart of Munich.

Pop-up Office,
Tuesday May 14 from 10 AM in front of HFF Munich
Carina Spitzner
New Relations
Tel +49 15228899812