Designing for Flexibility and Collaboration

Organizations are faced with new challenges as work spaces are in the midst of a drastic shift — the amount of square footage allocated per employee is rapidly declining, the need for collaborative and flexible workspace is rising, and establishing a universally accepted workplace environment that is shared across multiple generations of workers can become problematic.

Not only are organizations met with the challenge of providing a functional and flexible work space for their employees, but the workplace solutions must also promote employee wellbeing, productivity, and satisfaction.

Designers are called to help clients overcome the challenges listed above through strategic, creative workplace design. Design teams are able to overcome these hurdles through constant, open communication with their clients where they reach the depth of insight necessary to understand the specific design demands to be met. These demands can include a variety of outcomes — smaller and more flexible office space, improved employee attraction and retention, promotion of a collaborative work environment, improved aesthetic appeal, and promotion of employee wellbeing through “active” office space that encourages movement, the inclusion of social areas, an improved connection with nature, and more.

When DWFritz Automation expanded in 2014, they wanted their physical space to attract and retain employees as well as represent their organization’s dedication to innovation and collaboration. Mackenzie was chosen to design a space to meet those expectations.

Mackenzie repurposed 20,000 square feet of industrial space into a modern office that displays DWFritz’s commitment to innovative work and collaboration through the use of striking lobby and entry feature finishes with elements reflective of DWFritz’s brand, an overall design that maximizes natural light with open, creative individual and collaborative work areas, and the design of a contemporary employee café and amenities that promote a sustainable and fun workplace.

The Mackenzie team’s innovative design met DWFritz’s goals by utilizing a variety of strategies and features. Very few walls were used to define office spaces, which helped achieve the goals of higher density, increased flexibility, and increased access to natural light. DW Fritz’s goals of creating highly collaborative work areas were achieved by creating team identity through the use of unique ceiling and lighting treatments. The goal to develop an active and fun workplace was accomplished through the incorporation of social areas and a gaming room.

Modern Aesthetic

The design team used modern finishes to transform the gritty, industrial building to a sleek environment representative of the DWFritz brand.

Collaborative and Flexible Environment

Mackenzie designed the workplace into ‘neighborhoods’. This allowed for groups to develop their own specific identities without hindering cross-collaboration among teams. Rather than separating these neighborhoods with obstructive walls, they were delineated with a variety of ceiling planes and distinctive finishes.

Exposure to Nature/Natural Light

Among these innovative ceiling elements used were ‘clouds’, which are floating ceiling planes that use a variety of materials and geometries to break up the DWFritz workplace without compromising views and natural light. Exposure to day lighting and views of nature has been proven to positively impact employee wellbeing.

Social Environment

A full service kitchen, large break room, a gaming room, and various breakouts for social gathering were incorporated into the design to ensure employee comfort and satisfaction.

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