The Leader Magazine

JUN 2018

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Joel Ratekin is senior vice president of workplace strategies in the Nashville office of Gresham, Smith and Partners. Also in Nashville, Jack Weber, IIDA, MCR, LEED AP, is a senior vice president and design principal for GS&P. the leader June 2018 35 Although our layout supported 5 to 10 percent hard-wall offices, only 1 percent chose to retain their office space. 4. Mobility Enable free-address mobility and unassigned-desk- sharing practices. Increase workforce flexibility and enable personal freedom while reducing the demand for real estate. Provide individual, team and supervisor training to support the transition toward new ways of working. Key examples of our transformation: • Offered new "assigned" and "free address" workstyles for workers who desired choice about how they work each day. Free-address workers exchanged their assigned desk for increased freedom and flexibility. Twenty-seven percent of our staff chose the free-address workstyle. • Established docks for free-address workers with a target sharing ratio of 1.3 workers per dock. • Provided lockers, power outlets, strong Wi-Fi, dual monitors, and change-management education, including team-norm exercises, and leader training to facilitate day-to-day, mobile-workforce operation. The whole workplace itself also has many new features. The focus on employee health and amenities is very apparent. Access to daylight is abundant, with many areas boasting stunning views of the city and river. The sit- to-stand desking is popular, and the staircase connecting the three work floors to one another is heavily used. The building's fitness center opened recently and sees regular use throughout the day. Dry cleaning, healthy snack options, coffee bars, a rooftop terrace and a host of other building amenities and offerings in downtown Nashville all provide a great environment for our workforce. "Our workspace is both a showpiece and a living laboratory. Our staff are ecstatic about the collaborative space, the sit-to-stand desking and the views, and we couldn't be happier with how the whole space turned out." — Jack Weber, SVP of Corporate + Urban Design. Some early measurements show how the new workplace is meeting the needs of our workforce and business: • 88 percent increase in employee interaction • 87 percent increase in environmental satisfaction (through improved recycling of waste products, on-demand printing, removal of trash cans at individual desks, dishwashers in break areas to eliminate paper coffee cups, LED building lighting, occupancy switch lighting, and many other sustainable work practices) • 82 percent increase in overall workplace satisfaction • Shift from 230 to 168 rentable square feet (RSF) per worker (27 percent reduction of space demand) • Maximum workspace capacity below 130 RSF per worker (43 percent reduction in space demand) • Ability to grow staff without growing our real estate footprint • Cost avoidance of leasing 5K adjacent space You, too, can jump! Our results are exciting, but they were not achieved without a lot of hard work. We overcame these hurdles and other companies can do the same. The secret ingredient is a strong change-management process. To meet the needs of our workforce and help bring staff "into the fold" throughout the planning and design process, we conducted interactive feedback sessions, town halls, coffee talks and design forums. We sent regular e-mail communications, updated our intranet portal site, and provided technology training, move information, welcome packets and ongoing behavioral and etiquette information to make sure people were well- prepared for the new work environment. "We listened to the feedback and concerns from our staff, and incorporated their feedback into our design and transformation processes." — Rodney Chester, COO There are always a few lessons learned in a large workplace transformation. Items of ongoing importance for us include balancing our white noise effectively throughout the workplace; identifying new service roles for our staff to help keep the space clean and running smoothly; and supporting our production team's co- location requirements to help keep them engaged and productive with one another. Change is difficult, but it's also the only constant in life. We challenged ourselves to "walk the walk" of progressive workplace design, and we're glad we took the leap. We believe many other organizations will share our perspective as they forge ahead to the next generation of workplaces.

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