Office Renovation, Glendale
AC Martin was selected by PCL construction to renovate their 25,800-SF Glendale office to create a “Workplace of the Future”, that meets the varied demographics of today’s workforce. By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be made up of Millennials according to the Brookings Institute. This generational shift is changing the office landscape in new and exciting ways, trading in hierarchy for community. PCL was at an exciting crossroads to rethink conventions, redefine workstyles and, ultimately, create its own “Workplace of the Future”.
Flexible, adaptable, malleable work environments are key markers of a desirable next-generation workplace. By offering a diverse array of workspaces, we aimed to help PCL retain current employees and attract new talent by respecting and accommodating different ways of working. This was done by establishing private offices, huddle spaces, and a general open environment with physical separations from the communal areas centrally located in the plan. The departments are split between the executive and project management/estimating wings based on frequency of required interactions. The wings are tied together with common interstitial spaces, furthering the concept of the office as an ideation studio – an inviting place for people to be comfortable and hang out. This allows the exchange necessary for collaboration and encourages serendipitous dialogue. Lounges, communal tables, built-in benches, and booths ultimately define the ‘heart and soul’ of this workplace. A communicating staircase was added between the two floors, allowing the estimating and accounting teams easier access to the main floor and bolstering the overall team environment.
The major change brought about by the renovation was the breakdown of barriers between departments that interact frequently. Attracting the “next gen” workforce requires answering their need for a flexible, adaptable, malleable work environment. By offering a diverse array of workspaces—open-office seating, collaborative areas, quiet huddle regions--we met the challenges that PCL will face in retaining current employees and attracting new talent. A space for everyone does not mean ‘one size fits all’, but rather a move towards individualization and a customizable work environment that offers choices—quiet and loud, small and large, private and interactive, individual and group, formal and informal.
We used an ‘inside-out’ approach, empowering the people who drive the company to help draw the roadmap. We asked “Who is PCL? What makes you unique?” Together, we uncovered their innate culture and let the design of their offices express their brand. PCL wanted their new spaces to be their ‘face to the world’ and to convey their culture in way that assisted with recruiting the best and brightest talent.
We started the Change Management process with programming. AC Martin’s in-house Planning Department helped the management team at PCL develop a roadmap for generating buy-in for a successful transition by getting the staff to become active participants in the renovation. The goal was to create an office environment that projects the forward vision of PCL, helping with future recruitment and growth, without alienating current staff.
Physical Manifestation of Collaborative Effort
The original office lacked collaboration areas, creating a disconnect between PCL’s messaging and their physical space. By opening up the previously isolated departments, a cultural shift was sparked within the office.
Selection and design of the furnishing was a crucial element of creating a successful work environment. We worked closely with PCL to define their evolving needs and align the right products and furnishings with the design. Furniture defines how people work: comfort and variety are key. Now, task chairs can be traded for armchairs and desks for communal tables.
Cost-Effective Yet Impactful Design
Environmental graphics, artistic installations, and innovative use of lighting were incredibly effective ways in which we infused PCL’s brand without embarking on monumental and costly architectural moves. AC Martin’s in-house graphic design department worked with our designers from day one to craft the experience in a holistic manner. The entry lobby now features a map of Southern California with PCL’s project locations highlighted, providing visitors and clients an overall understanding of the breadth of PCL’s experience, and employees a sense of ownership in recognizing their individual contributions to the company as a whole. The entire two-story space features a range of images showcasing examples of recent projects, helping to further brand the environment. Functional lighting simultaneously provides illumination and elements of installation art. Environmental graphics and murals tell the story and tie the venue to context.
At the start of the project, PCL’s Estimating group was the most reluctant to move towards an open office model, yet reported overwhelmingly positive results in our-post-occupancy evaluation, citing that they were happy to be so much more social and connected to the overall team. PCL reports that the lobby lounge booths are ‘always at full capacity’ and that the generously scaled lobby with dimmable lighting and a laid-back mood gets used often for group events. It also garners great reactions from visitors, which has become a source of company pride. The central kitchen, as predicted, is the activity hub and gets heavy use.