Workplace Strategy

Leveraging Your Space to Inspire Tomorrow’s Talent

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Restaurateurs, retailers, entertainers all recognize the obvious impact that physical surroundings have on the success of their operations, which is why the leadership of Starbucks, Bloomingdales, and Fenway Park, for example, all work so hard to make sure that their facilities and brand are in sync. In either a positive, neutral, or negative way, this is always true of the corporate workplace too. A message is delivered – to employees, vendors, customers, and to the public – about a company’s values. This represents an opportunity, if properly crafted, to use real estate to enhance a company’s “brand”.

“Expressing the brand via the physical workplace is an opportunity to reinforce company mission and culture. For companies with multiple locations, it is also a way to offer consistency across locations…”

~2015/2016 Knoll Workplace Expert Interviews


When Dassault Systèmes decided to consolidate its US operations into one building as a part of its rebranding strategy, they chose a dramatic building with high visibility and a prominent presence on Route 128.

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Automotive manufacturers, beer companies, and clothing retailers all count on consumers to make product selections based upon the “fit” between what they buy and their image of themselves. The same is true of employees’ view of their workplace. The personality of the person who aspires to earn a perimeter office is likely very different from that of a person who prefers to be able to select from a variety of potential workspaces depending upon task and mood. The “image” of a workplace speaks volumes about the target employee, and ideally helps them self-identify with their employers’ values.

Image is a clear message to employees, clients, visitors, investors, vendors, and competition about a company’s values. (“Space Is the Body Language of an Organization”)


It is not extraordinary construction cost that defines Google’s workplace, rather the thoughtful effort to create unique, dynamic, inspirational environments that help attract the types of employees they are looking for. (“Space Is the Body Language of an Organization”)

“Everyone who comes to our reception area is either judging or being judged.”

~CEO, Global Financial Services Firm

Potential employees look to social media as a part of their research into which company they want to work for. It is a broadly-used vehicle for communicating unfiltered impressions about any company’s image.
Image is NOT just about the aesthetics. What message does this space deliver to employees about the drive for innovation, creativity, and/or collaboration?

Unprompted, respondents often cite physical workplace features as evidence of a good or bad workplace. Workplace aesthetics has a greater influence on job attractiveness than workspace allocation (offices vs open plan vs. activity based learning). (Hassell Research)

CAMPANELLI: HERITAGE TWO // QUINCY, MA: Even in leased space, choice of the building and its amenities become part of image associated with the tenants. In Quincy, MA, Heritage Two has become a destination for companies who want the “cool” factor of Boston’s Innovation District without the commute, and has proven wildly successful for both the building owner and the occupants.


Beyond documented advantages to productivity of providing in an environmentally sustainable work environment, LEED certification has become a symbol of a company’s commitment to the health of its employees and the planet.

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The workspace is an important physical asset within which a high degree of ingenuity and productivity is enabled. There is a clear business objective to creating a work environment that inspires and motivates employees. It’s extremely important for people within a company and from the outside to see the missions, goals and ideals portrayed in the physical space. This serves as a guide, a reminder of the overall corporate strategy. It’s not just about the work, it’s about the ideals and the message of a company that people can contribute to and become an engaged part of.


Engagement and the Global Workplace by Steelcase

“Many employees need more than just work— they need something to work toward. When employees understand your mission and reason for being, they are more likely to feel that same pride and work in the same direction to achieve the goals you have set. Having a strong brand is like turning the company logo into a flag the rest of the company can rally around.”

~Deluxe, 2015 Branding, Small Business

US businesses lose $11 billion annually as a result of employee turnover. (Bureau of National Affairs)


JK Group: “Is ‘Love’ A Part of Your Workplace?”


Gallup survey of 3,000 workers

Firms encouraging the development of staff strengths saw the following benefits (Harvard Business Review: “Developing Employees’ Strengths Boosts Sales, Profit, and Engagement”):





CIMPRESS | VISTAPRINT // WALTHAM, MA: Product display via graphics and technology in gathering spaces and other amenity areas reinforces the company end product

CIMPRESS | VISTAPRINT // WALTHAM, MA: Accolades and Mission Statements where staff congregates on display reinforce company goals

The following elements drive a highly engaged workforce (Forbes: “Why Companies Fail To Engage Today’s Workforce: The Overwhelmed Employee”):





Employee engagement is determined by an individual’s level of contribution and satisfaction in their role. Engaged employees are enthused and in gear, using their talents and discretionary efforts to make a positive and sustainable difference in a business. (GP Strategies)


BOSTON SCIENTIFIC // MARLBOROUGH, MA: Brand identity is clear to staff and visitors when you first enter the building via interactive technology display

BOSTON SCIENTIFIC // MARLBOROUGH, MA: The “Life” corridor shows real life stories of those served by the company, showing staff the benefits and results of their direct work contributions.

For staff to be fully engaged, they have to have a complete understanding of the mission, brand, culture, and those impacted by their daily contributions. 

What about your company differentiates you from your competition? Why are you important? Why are you successful?These values should be reflected in the design of the space.

These concepts are displayed through branding in many forms: graphic design, space function, furniture, materials, and technology. Creating an environment in which everyone is aware of this mission through various types of media helps create an engaged workforce. Building an organization that is inspirational, empowering, enthusiastic, confident and valued will not only reinforce the mission and the brand, but will engage the culture living in it.

The following process creates an engaged employee (Dale Carnegie: “Measuring Employee Engagement in Dale Carnegie Graduates”):


The top 25% of companies with the most engaged people produced twice as much profit and 22% higher shareholder returns than the companies with the least engaged people. (Oxford Strategic Consulting)
Additional trends that could help today’s workplace ( Engagement survey with over 40,000 respondents):





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