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With construction underway following two years of collaboration on workplace design and restructuring for corporate client Fresenius Medical Care North America, architecture and interiors firm Dyer Brown Architects has announced the completion of key components of the new office facilities for the healthcare giant. Covering approximately 100,000 square feet of space, the newly completed workplaces represent a major step in reaffirming the global healthcare services provider’s corporate culture, and the ongoing organizational transformation.
Among the newly occupied workplaces is a fully renovated, 30,000-square-foot floor of one of two office buildings Fresenius occupies in the Boston suburb of Lexington, Mass. Dyer Brown has also completed the “IT Clinic,” a 2,000-square-foot walk-up service desk for employees needing assistance from the IT department at one of the three buildings the healthcare company occupies in nearby Waltham, Mass.
Overwhelming positive employee responses to the new approach to technical support services has led Fresenius to consider replicating the method in their other buildings.
The ongoing project serves as a prime example of Dyer Brown’s unique approach and accomplishments through its Corporate Services studio which focuses on providing ongoing interior design, architecture, and branding services for clients with significant workplace footprints and multiple office locations.
“Fresenius is a big company, and a growing one,” says Sara Ross, Director of Corporate Services for the firm. “Our goal is to help them align departments and use space more effectively, so they don’t expand their real estate needlessly. By doing so, we create an optimally productive work environment for the client’s entire team, while also weaving spaces together to boost collaboration and innovation.”
“We’re also refreshing the workplace aesthetic,” notes Ross. “That means improving the design and impact while also incorporating strategies that help recruit new talent and keep employees active, happy and healthy.”
Supporting Restructuring Through Design
After recent firm growth and new acquisitions, Fresenius partnered with Dyer Brown to reassess its existing corporate office space — representing hundreds of thousands of square feet — and tasked Dyer Brown with reprogramming the entire footprint. The solutions included reorganizing many areas to consolidate fragmented departments and to recapture underutilized space.
“We envisioned a more collaborative way of working at Fresenius Medical Care North America, and our goal was to translate that into our physical workspaces and every other aspects of our work,” says John Gioioso, Senior Director, Corporate Operations & Real Estate for Fresenius. “Working with Dyer Brown is helping us turn this into reality, by creating efficient, high-performing, world-class workplaces suitable for the global healthcare provider that Fresenius is.”
Strategies implemented by Dyer Brown for this major revamp include reducing workstation sizes, reassigning staff to smaller, efficient offices, and repurposing much reclaimed square footage as collaboration and amenity spaces. The design team has also refreshing and updating the current Fresenius corporate workplace look with new finishes and materials that lend it a more contemporary overall aesthetic.
Positive, Powerful Results
The ongoing project is already showing results, and the response from Fresenius employees has been overwhelmingly positive. The new IT Clinic, the most visible of the completed renovations, represents a radical transformation of the way Fresenius employees resolve their technology issues. Rather than putting in a call to a technician who then visits the workstation with the malfunctioning equipment, Fresenius staff take their problems and questions directly to the IT Clinic reception desk. Located in an area with heavy foot traffic, the striking IT Clinic resembles a help desk in the mold of the Apple Genius Bar or Best Buy’s Geek Squad. The result is a new mode of addressing technology issues that elevates the visibility of the IT department while creating an activated space for informal interaction, collaboration and problem-solving.
The primary benefit of Dyer Brown’s approach to the now complete gut renovation of 40 Hartwell Avenue in Lexington is the bolstering of interaction and collaboration among the staff. According to the design team, the new workplace design achieves these aims by refreshing the workspaces while reorganizing them into neighborhoods with three types of conveniently located collaboration spaces, known as impromptu, AV, and whiteboard. The impromptu neighborhoods are set up for spontaneous conversations, while AV areas support meetings needing technology for presentations. The whiteboard settings are ideal for team-based problem-solving.
The new “neighborhoods” are organized around a central hub with banquette seating, café tables, and a bar-height counter, providing additional group meeting space. “We’re very encouraged by the early results,” says Ross. “The Fresenius team is excited by the changes, and even in this early stage, the transformation is having a positive impact on morale and productivity.”
Dyer Brown is also developing a workplace branding program to be implemented at a later date, with new wayfinding and signage designs. Meanwhile, a full-floor renovation for one of the Waltham buildings is nearing completion, expanding on the successful approach at 40 Hartwell Avenue. Once complete, the 65,000-square-foot space will represent the third major milestone for this collaboration between Dyer Brown and Fresenius.