From the moment that I joined ShoreTel’s Cloud Division (then M5 Networks) it was clear that we were outgrowing our New York City office space in Chelsea. Our space on the 9th floor was completely full so we were using scattered other spaces in the building. The three small conference rooms were so often in demand that securing one for a meeting took a mix of strategy, luck and the stubbornness of a mule. But moving a company of 90+ people is no small endeavor, so we put it off. We put it off until the landlord informed us that our building was going to become condos and our lease would not be renewed. Fair enough, new office space it is.
Although in real estate the saying goes that it is all about location, location, location, our thoughts turned to what we wanted from the space itself. Of course it had to be in a location that was convenient for our employees, customers and guests and it had to be large enough to support our growing team, but we quickly realized that we wanted more than just a place for people to work. We wanted a space that reflected how we work as a modern company and that also reflected the culture we have worked so hard to build.
Modern Means Mobile, Agile and Open
ShoreTel is a modern company in that we believe the nature of work has changed. It’s no longer a place you go, but a thing you do from anywhere. Sometimes it makes sense to be in the office, other times it makes sense to be at home, a customer location or even Starbucks. So, we designed our space to be comfortable for those who come into it every day and to accommodate and welcome those who are on-site only occasionally. We facilitate this with desks designed for “hoteling.” Simply plug in your laptop, log into your ShoreTel Sky phone and away you go.
Modern companies also often work in ad hoc teams that evolve over time as projects change and milestones are met. We set out to make this seamless in our new space by having an open floor plan that makes it easy to see who is available and have quick conversations in one of our conference rooms, the kitchen or even our London-style phone booths. Of course, collaboration can be noisy, so we also installed a white-noise machine to make quiet work and deep thought comfortable as well.
A Space for Learning
ShoreTel prides itself on being a company that values learning and employee engagement. We decided that our space should reflect these values and included, for example, a designated practice room for our famous Battle of the Bands learning program. Our staff, prospective employees and visitors can see that we are truly committed to fostering employee growth. We’ve also reminded employees that we value their insights by placing “Ideas” boards thorough the office. These boards can be used to develop and share any ideas about products, services or the company.
In order to inject a little fun and healthy competition, we have also partnered with Hoopla to inspire a high performance culture through game mechanics. Visit our office and you’ll see Hoopla leader boards announcing the achievements of our teams. With energized, rewarded and engaged employees focused on their own growth as well as the success of our customers, we have a winning formula and now we have exactly the space in which to make it happen.
So hopefully you’ve been inspired to ask yourself what your company can do to make your workspace reflect the way that your team works independently and together and ensure that it reflects and fosters your company’s core values and culture. Please share your best ideas in the comments section and feel free to pay us a visit at 1185 Broadway.