Partner Trends Update: Creating an Inspiring Workplace
This month for our Partner Trends Update, we asked our partners the following question: What is one of the most unique features you’ve seen your clients integrate into their space? From healthcare to manufacturing to law to government to corporations (and more), Exis partners work with a variety of clients, and each client has unique needs and purposes which can be creatively reflected in their spaces. Below, our Washington, D.C. partner, Ezra, describes their project management process and how they work with their clients to ensure their brand and culture is built into the space in which they work. Then, see examples of some additional unique features our partners from around the world have helped to make possible for their clients’ spaces. To learn more about each of our members, visit the member page.
Ezra – Washington, D.C.
As Project Managers, we are traditionally responsible for the budget, schedule and overall engagement and coordination of team members. Although those items are prime aspects of our services, Ezra realizes that we owe more to our clients. By utilizing our collective expertise in interior architecture, workplace strategy and construction, we challenge our clients to see beyond the status quo, and introduce them to the possibilities of what could be.
Ezra has developed an immersive approach of visioning, fact finding and goal setting, to assist our clients in realizing their vision for their office environment. This goes beyond providing the right technology and correct number of offices and workstations. If we stopped there, one could walk into any office, with the sign on the door being the only differentiator of where they are. This approach might allow the organization to be functional, but it does not inspire.
The office needs to inspire an organization’s clients to hire them. The office needs to inspire a potential recruit to want to work there and nowhere else. The office needs to inspire employees to do their best work, creatively and passionately attacking every day. When an office is designed with this focus, creating an architectural representation of the organization’s unique culture and mission, that is the difference between solely functioning, and thriving into the future.
A key strategy in customizing a client’s office environment is branding the space. This can be as simple as installing a company logo and inclusion of company colors throughout the design; however, we find the most successful projects take it a step further. Wallcoverings of large scale graphics or photographs that speak to the client’s mission, signage that emphasizes the client’s whimsical naming of conference rooms, a more complex installation of plaques that tell the client’s history – these are all potential solutions to expressing the culture of an organization, and invigorating the workplace and thereby the people who experience it.
Ezra recently completed a project for the National Committee of Quality Assurance (NCQA). This not-for-profit organization is one whose seal is widely recognized, as they focus on developing quality standards and performance measures for a broad range of health care entities. That is what they do. In working with NCQA, however, we learned that they actually wanted their office to speak to why they do it.
From that poignant concept, we engaged Hickok Cole Architects to develop a holistic branding package that was seamlessly integrated alongside the architecture, focusing on the people they serve. Custom panels were designed with key quotes and imagery that enforce their mission, and were installed in a prominent location that members and employees alike would appreciate. Installing film on glass walls is often a measure of safety or privacy. Here, it was used as an opportunity to again show that the people are the cornerstone of NCQA’s work and success, by subtly including actual faces of their employees. Graphic wallcoverings were employed, not because it directly related to NCQA’s brand, but because it enforced how they wanted people to feel within the space. For example, a graphic wallcovering of a sunlit sky, paired with strategically specified lighting, brightened up an area of the office that was geographically far from natural light and could have otherwise been considered a less desirable space to traverse.
Ezra realizes the power of a well branded environment and for this reason, proactively includes this effort in our project budgets, assuring that all team members are incorporating these concepts into the project dialogue from day one. We have received overwhelming feedback from NCQA, who has now been in their new office for over 6 months. And although we are thrilled to know we managed a project that was turned over on time and on budget, we are especially proud to know that we helped create a workplace that inspires.
Found Advisors – Pittsburgh, PA
Our client, Innovation Works, is a non-profit organization which also runs a tech accelerator that holds events. For this reason, we must have toured 50 buildings searching for one that would not only work great for office space but allow them to hold events – which they do just about monthly. In their space, they put a stage with a roll-up garage door to host live entertainment and indoor/outdoor parties.
Ellington Real Estate – Toronto, Ontario
ISA Canadian’s largest security-focused service provider wanted to open a Cybersecurity Intelligence and Operations Center (“CIOC”). We successfully negotiated relocated premises with the landlord to a turnkey solution onto another floor in the building without any liability on the current space. The CIOC was one the first centers in Canada to provide 24/7/365 service to many international clients who required top level cybersecurity monitoring. The CIOC has state-of-the-art security with a turnstile entrance, finger print scanning and an observation room.
Solved – Amsterdam, Netherlands
We did everything with the relocation of Warner Bros Nederland – from brokerage on, including project management. We have almost rebuilt everything new. The building is still under construction and will be ready in April.
The look is totally industrial, with open ceilings and a lot of steel constructions; because of their core business, it has a lot of editing/soundproof rooms.
Austin Office Space – Austin, TX
We are seeing clients add texture and wood elements to their office. We stole the idea when we remodeled our own office and wrapped one wall in reclaimed wood.
Spring4 – London, UK
We advise an insurance company, and they have an insurance broker function in London whereby they will have brokers visiting and stopping by regularly. As such, they have set up a large broker lounge for brokers to stop by in.