Throughout my career, I have managed and studied a wide range of workspaces. I’ve observed that an office impacts the people in it; from attitude to productivity to communication. Over time, I realized that we outgrew the old Physicians Resources LTD office and it was limiting staff collaboration and engagement. With over 80 employees, a growing client base, and a need for an updated work environment, we decided to move into a new, larger office. However, this time I helped oversee the design of this space, implementing everything I’ve learned over the years on how to create an effective workplace. As a result, we now have a space that is purpose-built for our staff and clients around teamwork, collaboration, and comfort.
A Purpose Built Place for Social Interaction and Collaboration
An office has to be a place, not just a space. Our new office was designed to be a place for all of us to work, collaborate, and create together. This started at our re-imagined workstations.
We gave everyone the same working station set-up, even our executives and managers. For the first time, staff and management were working side by side, no longer separated into offices.
We wanted to have smoother interactions in the new, dynamic workstations. Cushioned filing cabinets allow employees to easily visit and sit side by side or face to face. Visitors now avoid standing over a staff member’s shoulder, encouraging better engagement.
Finally, we wanted every employee to be only a chair roll away from their neighbor. This has really opened up social interaction and collaboration during the workday. Everyone is happier and has a stronger sense of community.
Balancing an Open Workplace and Privacy
It was important for us to have private meeting spaces in addition to the open concept of our workplace. Ambient noise and interruptions are a reality in an open space. So we created several small, private meeting rooms where anyone could go to focus, work on a project or simply to relax and think. Anyone can reserve these rooms using a new office-wide scheduling app.
Through observing our office dynamics, over the years we learned that people prefer small meeting rooms. This offers a more personal and comfortable meeting venue. Comfort was also a priority in these rooms. No two meeting spaces are the same. Each room varies in size, layout, and furnishings. We included a mix of comfy chairs, high-top chairs, sofas, and small table & chair sets.
Most importantly, we wanted our meeting rooms to be functional. Every room has a whiteboard, audio-visual outputs, charging stations, and office supplies that are necessary for effective meetings. In order to balance privacy with an open environment and minimize outside distractions, we created meeting rooms with frosted glass walls.
Smaller Meeting Spaces are More Effective
We created smaller meeting spaces because we found they are better utilized than larger spaces. Our large conference room was only used for training or an occasional group meeting. The staff simply enjoyed personal, intimate meetings over large group settings. So, we prioritized smaller spaces over larger amenities.
Even client meetings are held in the smaller, more intimate rooms. Our company culture is client-centric, and inviting clients into a welcome and comfortable office environment is very important to us. The intimacy of our small meeting rooms, combined with positive energy and collaborative environment of our open spaces, makes our clients feel at ease. Our space also clearly communicates what kind of company we are, values that we are eager and proud to share.
The Best Has Yet to Come
Through an intentional and methodical process, we feel we have developed the optimal workplace for our staff, managers, executives, and clients. When we moved into our new offices you could immediately feel the change.
Our employees have had nothing but positive feedback on this new space. They love the open working environment, the improved workstations, and the modern aesthetic of the new office. Meetings have been more productive and projects performed with more efficiency. Finally, our staff feels like they work in a space that is an accurate reflection of their company and the values that form the foundation of PRL.
There was great energy as our team settled into this phase of the PRL journey. Fast forward a couple of months and everyone is very satisfied with our optimized working environment. We are proud to call this new office our home base and we look forward to many more years of collaboration and innovation to come.