Case Study: Using Space as a Business Tool
McNeil Consumer Healthcare Fort Washington, PA
As part of a strategic business initiative, McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals retained the services of Francis Cauffman to create a new workplace environment that focused on a new business culture of innovation, transparency, interaction, collaboration and cross-functional teamwork. The company president clearly understood the important role that the right work environment played in driving this initiative. The existing workspace, based on a culture of hierarchical entitlement with perimeter offices for senior management, and a lack of suitable meeting facilities, both formal and informal, clearly did not meet the expressed business goals.
Process: Research - The Vision Quest Study Every company has its own particular business parameters to address, and as such, there is no single universal work-place solution. Prior to preparing any layouts, Francis Cauffman and DEGW (workplace strategy consultants), undertook a detailed research study investigating business mission, culture and work processes, using a variety of tools, including interviews, surveys, focus groups, building analysis and a time utilization study.
The process began with a Visioning session with senior management to assess the current culture and desired transformation. The outcomes were: Increased innovation Greater collaboration Faster decision-making: Product
focus, cross functional work Move from entitlement culture More dynamic workplace that
encourages creativity Support a face Mail culture, greater
transparency Enable more flexible working.
In addition to interviews, employees were surveyed to determine the impor-tance and current performance of key work attributes. A separate behavioral observational study was conducted to review how employees time was actu-ally spent. The contrast between the two highlighted the disparity between perception and reality. An example was the percentage of time that manage-ment thought they spent in their offices doing solitary work. The reality was significantly lower. The question was then raised: Why do the people who spend the least amount of time in their offices occupy the largest and best real estate along the perim-eter windows? Similarly, there was a real issue surrounding the inability to book meeting rooms even though the observational study showed that they were often available. In fact, the real problem was the inability to handle spontaneous informal meetings due to a general lack of meeting space, little variety in the size and type of meeting space, and shortcomings in the book-ing system.
The study showed that many people spent a lot of time collaborating with others and that the existing space was too focused on individual work. With employees increasingly working in an informal and ad hoc manner requiring a more diverse range of workspaces, the existing labyrinth of enclosed offices did not enable or support teamwork.
Process: The Study RecommendationThe research indicated that the fol-lowing physical changes were required to achieve the stated cultural change goals of encouraging creativity, col-laboration, visibility, accessibility of employees and teams:
Provide more collaborative space Provide a more diverse range of
spaces for individual and group work Provide more flexible meeting spaces
for both formal and informal meetings and optimize the booking system
Remove walls to create more open space.
Case Study:Using Space as a Business Tool
Top, middle, bottom:VP Office, Team Area, General Work Area
1. Individual open work area2. Individual closed work area3. Enclosed informal meeting4. Open informal team / Touchdown area5. Informal conference area6. Hub / Town square
PantryCoffeeInformal gatheringGroup identityMain circulation
7. Site connectivityMain campusCirculation route
8. Typical neighborhood
80% of space is designed for individual work, 20% for collaborative
People believe they are at own workspace 66% of time
Impossible to get a meeting room
Overcrowding, lack of space
Space is overly formal and infl exible
Research tells us
60% of work McNeil does is individual, 40% is collaborative
Observation tells us its 45%
Meeting rooms used only 43% of the time
People cannot see or fi nd each other
People increasingly work in an informal and ad hoc way
Change space distribution to more collaborative
Better range of work spaces for individual and group work
Provide more fl exible and ad hoc spaces, optimize booking systems
Open space up, remove walls
More diverse range of work spaces, reduce and standardize personal space
Cultural change issues
Enabale and support teamwork in more fl exible open space
Visibility and accessibility of leadership and teams
Encourage more informal, spontaneous meetings
Communication, fl ow, buzz fun, face mail
Clarity, information fl ow, demonstrating work and ideas
11 of the 12 most important workplace attributes are performing at optimal levels in the new space compared to only 5 of 12 before the move.
Community Planning: The Workspace Context
In order to drive the business and cultural goals, senior management concluded that only the Director level and above would have an en-closed office of minimal size.
The New ModelBased on the conclusions of the study, focus groups were held with employ-ees to develop the appropriate physical work settings. The workplace design developed is based on the concept of Community Planning. The workspace is zoned by neighborhoods consisting of a variety of flexible work settings to accommodate both individual and collaborative work.
The individual quiet work spaces are located in open work areas around the perimeter. These have direct access to informal, open team areas, touch-down areas and a variety of different enclosed, informal meeting rooms. Noisier activities are located inboard in a more enclosed zone. At the core of each floor and along the main campus circulation routes hubs act as the Town Square for the neighborhoods. These informal gathering spaces with the coffee/pantry/copy center are de-signed to bring the valuable work from the corridors into the workspace and offer opportunities for team specific branding and idea exchange.
The layout maximizes both the desired visibility/accessibility and incor-porates the use of natural light by locating the open work areas along the perimeter and glass walls at enclosed offices and meeting areas. The interior workspace has been enhanced by utilizing multiple colors which provide visual stimulus to the different spaces.
In order to maximize limited resources and meet the cultural objectives, the workspace is allocated on the basis of what people do rather than their position. This required a new perspec-tive on how to use the workspace. As opposed to the traditional view of the cube or office as your workspace, the new model is the entire neighborhood/hub, with access to a variety of work settings, both individual and collabora-tive. The utilization of wireless technol-ogy enables ease of connecting people throughout the space.
The BenefitsPost-occupancy evaluations indicate the new workplace environment is meeting the stated objective of enhancing a new business culture of innovation, transparency, interaction, collaboration and cross-functional teamwork. The variety of work settings for informal and formal meetings has relieved the meeting bottleneck and increased both communication and collaboration across the business groups.
Further indication of the projects success is the input received from company sales reps, who have stated that the vibrant new workspace speaks of a forward-looking company and has recharged them. In addition, the con-nectivity enables them to easily keep in touch with customers while on site.
From a facilities perspective, this work-space was provided in a cost-effective manner consistent with the clients more traditional projects. In order to achieve a greater amount of team-ing/collaborative space, individual workspaces were reduced without compromising the work process needs. By using the same furniture system for the workstations and enclosed offices, there was significant savings over the
previous furniture standards. The Day 2 movement of people across teams is addressed through the deletion of space allocation by hierarchy. Instead, through the use of a single worksta-tion size, people can easily and quickly move across groups using box moves.
Top, middle, bottom:Team Touchdown Area, Informal Team Area, Team Touchdown Area
Internal Team Room
The new space allows us to meet frequently and more impromptu. More communication has made us a better team with increased interaction at all levels.
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