[Written for American Builders Quarterly]
For decades, corporations in the United States had a stereotypical look and design.
Traditional work spaces were built to house people doing their own tasks. But just as technology, globalization, and shifts in the 21st century culture of work have transformed employment, these same factors are also leading to changes in physical spaces.
Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA) is headquartered across four different campus locations in Waltham and Lexington, Massachusetts. The company, which is focused on offering high-quality care to people with chronic renal conditions, is also the world’s only fully vertically integrated renal company. The physical plant houses specialty pharmacy and laboratory services, clinical, and product development, as well as manufacturing, marketing, distribution, and other departments.
In renewing its leases, Fresenius was able to ensure its current footprint for the next 12 years. This also appeared to be the ideal time for corporate team members to examine ways to “open up” the current work environment.
“There has been a company-wide push toward creating a more vibrant, open space, recognizing that it will lead to greater collaboration across work teams,” says John Gioioso, senior director of corporate building operations and real estate at FMCNA. “Clearly, this is the direction that tech companies like Google have gone in. But even traditional industries and companies are seeing the benefits in opening up their work places.”
While Gioioso does not believe one will see employees at Fresenius tossing around footballs anytime soon, he and his corporate team partners believe that there are benefits to drawing people out of their traditional workspaces and into common areas. Enhancing communication is one of them. It’s also a nod to recognizing the changing dynamics and demographics commonly found in the workplace. Continue reading