A Place to Come Together: First Federal Bank envisions a headquarters that feels like home
Like many companies, First Federal Bank of Kansas City (FFBKC) was faced with a changing dynamic brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and sending their workforce home. After seeing that employees were generally happier, equally (if not more) productive, and still engaged while working from home, FFBKC decided to embrace the opportunity to reimagine what their workplace should look like for their employees. Their first move was to find a new space that only occupied 21,000 SF — half of the square footage they originally thought they needed before the pandemic — to fit a hybrid work model in which their associates will choose when they work from home or in the office.
As Helix has observed from clients and projects that are emerging in the post-vaccine environment, the basic tenets of progressive workplace design still apply. Now, the purpose of the workplace has evolved, serving as a hub for collaboration, connection with colleagues, and easy access to tools that employees may need for their specific roles. FFBKC’s new headquarters is designed with intentionality, being mindful of a smaller footprint and fully leveraging the use for each space to make their workplace into a destination.
Inspired by FFBKC’s unwavering values and strong visual identity, the design began to unfold, comprising a collection of “we” spaces that encourage gathering and interaction. FFBKC and Helix began to frame these spaces in the context of a house, which is a key element of FFBKC’s vision of “prosperity and a home for all.” Coming from their previous space, which had segmented areas closed off from each other, the new headquarters emphasizes connection along a primary path of circulation that is punctuated by playful house shapes. The familiar language of home and the extraction of their brand reinforce a concept that resonates with employees and customers alike: This is your home — a place to be together.
“Our value statement says we put our employees and our customers first. I think this new headquarters is going to really demonstrate that for us — that the focus is on employee education, training and development and on engaging with our customers and community.” — J.R. Buckner, CEO, First Federal Bank of Kansas City
FFBKC wanted to create a comfortable environment and a desired place for their employees to do their work. The main areas are community-oriented and include a welcoming kitchen and cafe with an adjacent great room, library, and a mix of formal and informal gathering areas. When associates choose to work in the office, there will still be a collection of flexible, individual work spaces that provide a variety of tools and levels of privacy to meet varying styles. Each space is anchored by carefully selected furniture that helps convey the idea of home and creates opportunities for connections to occur.
The palette of finishes is another visual reminder of their playful and approachable brand. FFBKC and Helix aimed to strike a balance between bright, modern, and warm, with touches of fun elements sprinkled throughout.
“Our value statement says we put our employees and our customers first. I think this new headquarters is going to really demonstrate that for us — that the focus is on employee education, training and development and on engaging with our customers and community.”
J.R. Buckner, CEO, First Federal Bank of Kansas City