Monthly archives for March, 2016

The Power of Workplace

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A ROOM FULL OF CORPORATE RECRUITERS GET TO DESIGN THEIR IDEAL WORK ENVIRONMENT?


Recruiters are on the front lines for corporations, and as many have experienced the workplace environment can either be a hindrance or a powerful tool. Last night, Team-KC: Life+Talent partnered with Alissa Wehmueller, workplace design expert with Helix Architecture + Design to explore the impact the workplace environment has on attracting and retaining talent. Alissa shared research on the benefits of investing in the work environment as well as best practices for how a company can achieve the greatest impact from their space.

AlissaImage courtesy of MetroWireMedia / Autumn Morningsky

WHAT IS THE VALUE OF INVESTING IN YOUR WORKPLACE?
There are a wide range of studies related to employee retention, engagement and attraction that have evaluated the benefits corporations experience when they invest in their workplace environment. A recent Work Design magazine article highlights how making that investment can enhance recruitment, lower attrition rates and increase profitability.

“A 2014 Hassell study indicated that the combination of strong overall culture and facilities actually outweighs salary and benefits when it comes to accepting a job offer. Moreover, a 2015 Chandler MacLeod study found that nearly three quarters of candidates would consider a slightly lower salaried position in a company that their friends have communicated is a great place to work.”

When you factor in the savings of employee retention — it can save a company $250,000 per employee — the financial benefits alone are a substantial payoff.

WE CAN’T ALL BE GOOGLE
As the workplace landscape shifts, there has been some backlash against the open office work environment in the media the last few years, including the widespread – Google got it wrong. Actually, Google got it right – for Google. But that doesn’t mean their environment is right for you. Ping pong tables, slides and yurts are not the key to a successful environment – understanding how your associates work and what they value is.

Trozzolo Communications

SO WHERE DO YOU START?
Creating the ideal space for your organization is a balance of qualitative and quantitative data. Bringing on a workplace design expert early to guide this info-gathering phase ensures that you are starting off on the right foundation of data. This information will guide the layout, furniture and amenities to make sure your company is investing in the right choices and gaining the greatest value for your employees and the company.

WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS OF A PROGRESSIVE WORKPLACE?
While the best solution will vary from company to company, there are three key factors we find are consistently driving the success of progressive work environment:

  1. Choice
  2. Wellness
  3. Telling your story

Trends will come and go, but creating a flexible environment that responds to the unique needs of your people and showcases your culture will pay dividends in retaining and attracting talent to your organization.

AMU

CHOICE: HOW DO YOU ACCOMMODATE DIFFERENT WORKSTYLES?
One size does not fit all. In fact, one size doesn’t fit
most. For the last 20 years the development of the desktop computer tethered us to our desks, but today’s technology allows us to work anywhere. This flexibility creates a tremendous opportunity to give employees the spaces and tools they need to support a variety of workstyles.

Various workstyles don’t just accommodate different individuals, but also the different tasks one individual might do throughout their day.

Day in the Life

And it’s not just about millennials.

“In 2015, the U.S. workforce was composed of 5 generations:

2% Traditionalist
29% Baby Boomers
34% GenX
34% Millennials
1% Post Millennials”

– Pew Research Center

Creating an environment that supports mentoring, collaboration and knowledge sharing across all of the generations in the workforce elevates the entire organization.

Workplace Wellness

WELLNESS: CAN YOU LEAVE YOUR OFFICE HEALTHIER THAN WHEN YOU ARRIVED?
Is it possible to create a space that reduces stress and helps promote physical well-being?
Employers have increasingly recognized the benefits of investing in initiatives that help improve the health of their associates. The loss of productivity and revenue that companies experience due illness can have a tremendous impact on a company’s bottom line.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reports that poor employee health accounts for some 45 million avoidable sick days each year and lost annual revenue of between $1,900 and $2,250 per employee.

This is particularly relevant to the design of work space because of the amount of time we spend at our offices each day and the impact that our environment has on our physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Some of the ways you can positively impact your associates include:

  • Develop a space layout that encourages physical activity
  • Select ergonomic furniture to promote good posture
  • Provide a connection to the outdoors
  • Integrate spaces that offer refuge from distractions
  • Provide amenities that help foster relationships

These strategies contribute to health, engagement, happiness and overall job satisfaction.

Andrews McMeel Universal Lobby

TELLING YOUR STORY: DOES YOUR SPACE ALIGN WITH YOUR BRAND?
If you took your logo off the wall would visitors know who you are? What does your physical environment communicate about your culture?

“Out of 3,000 workers surveyed, only 41% say they know what their company stands for and how it differs from their competitors.”

Gallup’s State of the American Workplace

Using your space to communicate your mission, vision, values and company culture is a powerful tool for employees, clients and potential candidates. It clearly communicates that your company is “walking the walk” and investing in their culture.

KCADC TeamKC Helix Event

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE YOUR IDEAL ENVIRONMENT?
We wrapped up the evening with an interactive exercise that allowed teams of recruiters create their own company and design their ideal workplace environment for potential new hires. There were some fun elements (who wouldn’t want to work for a “Technology Party Planner”!) alongside some really well thought out solutions.

Does your sales team love to golf? Incorporating a putting green into the outdoor space can provide a break in the workday and help them keep their short game on point.
Are children your clients? Create a fun, kid-sized entryway that makes your space memorable.
How can you make portions of your space feel like home? Many of us feel like we get our best “focus-work” done at our own homes so creating a quiet, comfortable space that is free of distractions can offer the same relief during the work day.

Thanks to everyone for your thoughtful questions, big ideas and insights into the solutions you’ve implemented in your own workspaces!

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
The needs of a modern workplace are constantly evolving alongside the people who work there. We would love to keep the dialog going on what is or isn’t working in your own work environment, the feedback you’re hearing from recruits or any great resources on creating an exceptional workplace for your people.

To learn more about the power of workplace, connect with Alissa on LinkedIn, send her an email or tweet us at @helixKC and @AlissaMay. To learn more about TeamKC: Life+Talent, contact Jessica Nelson.

For some additional reading check our MetroWireMedia‘s article, “Three ways to give your workplace a competitive edge” and Thinking Bigger‘s article, “A better workplace can help you attract the best workers.”


Preserving Kansas City’s historic landmarks for future generations

Since its founding in 1974, Historic Kansas City (HKC) has been the only greater Kansas City nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the area’s heritage, neighborhoods and historic built environment.

Last night at their annual Preservation Awards ceremony, HKC celebrated the people – developers, building owners, architects and preservationists – that have demonstrated exceptional leadership in historic preservation across our city. Three Helix clients, the City of Kansas City, Missouri, the owners of the Brass on Baltimore and the General Services Administration were among those honored for their preservation and reinvestment in significant landmark buildings.

Preserving these structures for future generations retains an important piece of our history and  identity as a city. It was an honor to work alongside the leaders at each of these organizations to breathe new life into these monumental buildings.

Kansas City Police Department Headquarters Renovation & Expansion | Excellence Award | Innovation
The renovation and expansion of the Kansas City Police Headquarters re-positions the facility, originally built in 1938, for another 70 years of service to the community while respecting the character of the historic 100,000-square-foot structure. This included a full renovation of the historic structure for modern police use, as well as a significant investment on the ground floor to increase transparency and improve police interaction with the community.

KCPD Before + After

Helix’s design of the community room addition takes cues from the existing Art Deco headquarters and adjacent Brutal­ist Municipal Court buildings. The Art Deco pattern of the concrete roof structure is found throughout the original Police Headquarters in both ornamental and functional roles.

KCPD Ceiling Inspiration

 

Brass on Baltimore | Merit Award | Preservation Practice
The renovation of the historic Kansas City Club building at 13th and Baltimore in downtown Kansas City restored the buildings historic character while inserting modern amenities. Recently renamed the “Brass on Baltimore”, the building houses 67 lofts and 9 unique event spaces across 15-floors. Appearing on the National Register of Historic Places, the historic building is a stunning example of elaborate, gothic Tudor detailing and old-world craftsmanship.

Brass on Baltimore Before + After

Built in 1920, the 15-story building was originally built as the home of the Kansas City Club, a private gentlemen’s club established in 1882. Helix’s renovation of the luxury event spaces on the 1st-6th floors, included restoration and updates to the original grand lobby, Press Room, Tudor Room, Walnut Room, and library. The project also included the complete renovation of the 15th floor, which had been converted to apartments in 2002, and the addition of an outdoor terrace that offers 180-degree views in downtown Kansas City.

Brass on Baltimore Interiors Before + After

 

Richard Bolling Federal Building Modernization | Excellence Award | Contemporary Design in a Historic Context
Encompassing two full city blocks in the government district of downtown Kansas City, the 18-story Richard Bolling Federal Building is a landmark on the city skyline. Built during the Great Society period in the early 1960’s, the tower stretches East and West across the two-block site, interrupting Cherry Street in the downtown street grid. At more than 1.2-million-gross-square-feet it’s one of the largest high-rise office buildings in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Richard Bolling Federal Building Site Before + After

The modernization of the Richard Bolling Federal Building, led by Helix Architecture + Design, GastingerWalker& and JE Dunn Construction, transformed the existing structure into a high-performance building and Class A work environment for 2,800 federal employees while preserving the historic Mid Century architecture. The renovation was completed in 4-phases over 15-years and officially celebrated its re-dedication in November 2015.

Richard Bolling Federal Building Interiors Before + After

Each of these buildings offers a rich history of people that have passed through the front doors – people who shared their workday, their passion for serving their community, their milestones and their celebrations. Thanks to the investment of our clients, people will continue to experience their beauty, their craftsmanship and iconic presence in our community for years to come.

For those of you that love old buildings as much as we do, Historic Kansas City hosts events throughout the year. You can check them out, along with a full list of award winners on their website.


KCU Administration Building Renovation

KCU Admin Building | Helix Architecture + Design | JE Dunn | Henderson Engineers

KCU Admin Building | Helix Architecture + Design | JE Dunn | Henderson Engineers

We are excited to announce the completion of another successful project with Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences (KCU). Originally home to the first Children’s Mercy Hospital, the 100-year-old building became part of KCU in the 1970s. Today, the newly renovated building functions as both the Administration Building and campus Welcome Center.

KCU Admin Building | Helix Architecture + Design | JE Dunn | Henderson Engineers

KCU Admin Building | Helix Architecture + Design | JE Dunn | Henderson Engineers

KCU Admin Building | Helix Architecture + Design | JE Dunn | Henderson Engineers

KCU Admin Building | Helix Architecture + Design | JE Dunn | Henderson Engineers

Prior to beginning design, Helix led a team of key stakeholders through a series of visioning sessions, in which we were able to define underlying directives for the project, such as: perceived University identity, campus culture, fundamental business drivers, modern day work styles and the desired look and feel for the space.

The building serves over 1,000 KCU students and approximately 70 members of KCU faculty and staff. By opening up the floorplan we were able to make the building easier to navigate, while introducing hospitality areas, progressive workplace solutions, and expanded A/V capabilities to address the evolving needs of students and staff, alike.

By transitioning administrative space to an open office environment the space enhances inter-department communication and improves access for students. This strategic shift in culture also increased shared social spaces directly adjacent to major circulation paths to give an open, welcoming appeal.

KCU_Admin_Building_ImagesThe completion of the Administration Building serves as the kickoff event for KCU’s 2016 Centennial celebration. This preservation and modernization of the building reflects KCU’s past, and celebrates a future of continued collaboration, research and service to the communities it serves.

In line with KCU’s commitment to sustainability, Helix developed a building renovation concept that re-used the existing structure while re-configuring and modernizing the space to better serve the university’s needs. Slated to achieve LEED Silver Certification, the project incorporated high efficiency building systems, improved the indoor environment for building users and repurposed existing materials to the fullest extent possible.

Congratulations to our partners at KCU on this milestone for the university and our project team on a beautiful space that blends academic services and workplace design seamlessly into a historic building!

Images by Michael Robinson Photography