INCLUSIVE DESIGN – Office Renovations that Promote Employee Engagement

Office culture, department consolidation, personal work styles, collaboration, better use of space…all important concerns we wanted to address in our office renovation. The question became how to embrace positive change while retaining the things that still work, and of course, all on a shoestring budget. It’s a familiar challenge. We are Architects and Engineers, we do this every day for our clients, but could we do it for ourselves?

Schemmer is a full-service architectural, engineering and planning firm representing different disciplines, generations and personalities. The reality is we don’t all work the same way. Our previous office layout and furniture intended to treat everyone the same. The regularity had become uninspired and it was time for a fresh approach.

Inclusive! This was the motto of our renovation design process. We wanted a high level of buy-in from all our employees. It started with a survey giving every employee a voice. Then, an evening charrette with our Architects freely dreaming and analyzing the ideas we might implement. Floor plan pros and cons were evaluated at a Saturday morning open forum. Next, our strategy was refined with preliminary budgeting and individual department head interviews. A final Saturday forum was held to report back and unveil the final floor plan. Now, several months later, the dust has settled and our goals are met. We appreciate that the office is a work in progress and ultimately our employees are the daily spirit of our firm.