Real Estate Journal — Owners, Developers & Managers — Ask The Experts— October 27 - November 9, 2017 — 13B


M id A tlantic

A sk T he E xperts

n the cusp of their 50 year anniversary and in anticipation of a The Verve Partnership: Construction through informed design From the inside out: How A Mid-Atlantic general contractor and its design partner broke downwalls O

space would have on employee spirit. An employee survey con- firmed this design resulted in increased employee happiness and engagement, more seam- less teamwork, and increased productivity. "Our folks are so proud of their new home, we’ve even noticed them bringing their spouses in to show off our new space," added Dave Miller. “It really showed us how design- ing from the inside out could make a lasting difference in employee satisfaction, improve the outcome for our clients and as a result, benefit our bottom line.” n

Verve Partnership helped Har- kins jump the valley by visiting other open office environments, ultimately deciding on a mix of equal sized team rooms and offices to encourage collabora- tion and diversify use of space, while also incorporating larger open social spaces for family like connections. Construction through informed design was exactly what Harkins needed, resulting in several unexpected outcomes. Harkins thought re- design would bring everyone in closer spatial proximity to one another, but never imagined the other positive ramifications the

leadership change, the execu- tive team at Harkins Builders examined their current condi- tion, company values, and how they wanted the future of their company to look. Leadership took a deep dive to uncover the true foundation of their success and discovered a direct correla- tion between productivity, the delivery of exceptional quality service, and physical office de- sign. Harkins had been located in Marriottsville, MD for 15 years and occupied 25,000 s/f on two separate floors, with some overflow employees on the basement level. The leadership team realized physical barriers were preventing teamwork, separating project teams, and hindering the internal working relationships crucial to deliver- ing client satisfaction. While location is often the default concern for corporate manage- ment teams, Harkins leader- ship decided to focus on what happened inside their building, rather than the parcel of land on which it sat. Harkins reached out to The Verve Partnership, a WBE interior architecture and de- sign strategy firm located in Baltimore City. The Verve specializes in ‘designing from the inside out’ by distilling brand and culture to inform space design. The Verve met with Harkins and discovered a mismatch among company values, future goals, and cur- rent space. Working together, Harkins articulated their de- sired new work environment, resulting in a less traditional space that would integrate all members of the company regardless of management level. Harkins wanted efficient workspaces to foster collabora- tion and interaction, yet allow opportunity for privacy and quiet. Bolstering these aspira- tions with deep dive analytics and employee input, Harkins agreed that their current space was ill-suited to accommodate the necessary design changes, therefore, they would relocate to Columbia, MD. The new space design wasn’t an easy sell for everyone at Har- kins. "How in the world would an open work environment, with noise, interruptions, and little privacy work for our com- pany?" asked Dave Miller, the project executive. "We called this our Valley of Fear." The

The Verve Partnership recently helped Harkins reinvent themselves through a physical space transformation.

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