The Leader Magazine

JUN 2018

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As an architecture and engineering firm, we have helped many organizations transform their work environments to support new ways of working. However, we were also aware that doing it for ourselves, especially as a same-industry practitioner, could be a bit difficult. We noticed that other A&E firms have been reluctant to embrace evolutionary workplace strategies. The need for concentration, privacy, and stability and the daily use of large drawings seem to diminish a willingness for change. However, our group felt differently. We knew now was the time to embrace the best solutions possible to meet the future needs of our business and our workforce. "We knew that our old workplace was not going to work for us in the future. These opportunities for change do not come often. We had to build a new workplace that will meet the future needs of our people, our customers and our business." — James Bearden, GS&P executive vice president/health care To this end, we conducted the following research activities to inform our strategy and design process: • Leadership vision session • Departmental leader interviews • Floor occupancy & utilization studies • Workplace observations • 1-on-1 empathy interviews • Workspace interest survey • Focus group workshops • Benchmark research • Benchmark visits • Technology readiness assessment • New workplace floor pilot • Pocket tests and learning pilots Through this work we learned much about ourselves, our possibilities, and our future requirements. After careful study, we shaped four major design criteria that were critical to achieving our guiding principles: 1. Egalitarian space Move from a "me" to "we" workplace perspective to improve collaboration and our sense of community. Shrinking desk sizes and moving out of offices shift the focus from individual hierarchy to group production and performance. Key examples of our transformation: • Moved from 8-foot x 8-foot (2.44-m. x 2.44-m.) cubicles with tall panels to 6-foot x 6-foot (1.83-m. x 1.83-m.) desks with lower and varied screen heights. • Shifted from 30 percent management in closed offices to 1 percent. The CEO and executive team moved out of their offices. • Added perimeter and generous workspace circulation to better enable staff interaction. 2. Activity-based workplace Deliver an active workplace design with internal mobility features to enable people to select and use the settings needed to support the work at hand. Key examples of our transformation: • Introduced many new activity settings throughout the workspace, including hubs (work cafés), Qs (phone and quiet rooms), coves (non-reservable huddle rooms), bluffs (group-interaction and document-layout settings), landings (touchdown desks for mobile workers and visitors), and terminals (project and long-term-reservation rooms). • Utilized modular, hard-wall design standards that enable easy switching, expansion and contraction of space types. We also selected new furniture with reusable "kit of parts" to eliminate waste and allow easy reconfigurations. • Installed sit-to-stand desks throughout the workspace, plus universal docking stations and desktop power outlets that handle all types of laptops, monitors and other technologies. • Implemented white-noise sound-abatement solutions to reduce the noise and distraction that occurs with higher levels of movement and interaction. 3. Open neighborhoods Allow unique solutions for larger groups throughout the building so that space is tuned to meet the cultural and performance expectations of the workforce. We found that marketing, architecture and interior design groups desired more openness and collaboration, while engineering, finance and human resources functions required more privacy and concentrative solutions. Key examples of our transformation: • Enabled groups the choice of desk screen heights and layout orientation. • Allowed choice of activity settings and storage solutions adjacent to each neighborhood. • Permitted group selection of office usage and selection of who would occupy an office. Note: 34 June 2018 the leader F E A T U R E A R T I C L E

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