Designing and renovating spaces requires a delicate balance of creativity, functionality, and a keen understanding of the client’s vision. When the client is your co-worker, the challenge is even greater.
This dynamic, Diet Coke-loving duo, Vice President of Design Hannah Freiherr and Senior Designer Anna Luke, were up for the challenge. They joined forces to breathe new life into their office, emphasizing a hybrid collaborative approach.
Collaborating closely with Business Funiture’s in-house team at Choreo, a change management and work strategy division, they transformed the showroom into a dynamic space that exemplifies the future of work.
Hannah Freiherr and Anna Luke, both accomplished interior designers in their own right, embarked on this project with a shared vision of creating a showroom that would captivate visitors while also creating a workspace where their teams felt at home.
“The experience was humbling,” laughed Hannah, “Since we are in the business of helping our customers reimagine their spaces, it is easy to assume our team will breeze through the process. This was not the case, and it never is on these large-scale projects. Our team, just like our customers, experiences the full range of emotions that come with change.”
Some of those changes included a fluid and open work environment, meaning no assigned offices or desks, a reflection of true hybrid work.
“We quickly realized that neighborhoods were the answer; our teams didn’t need an assigned seat but still needed a place to call home and collaborate with their teams,” explained Anna.
Neighborhoods, Not Gated Communities
“As the project leader, it was challenging at times not to take people’s feelings to heart. This is such a real reminder of how crucial the role of change management can be to a project,” Hannah went on. “Now that the project is complete, I have a strong sense of empathy towards our customers and gratitude for the experience.”
Imagine stepping into a work office where employees are not confined to specific desks but instead find themselves in vibrant neighborhoods that foster collaboration and offer the freedom to choose their ideal workspace each day.
The City: Home to the bustling buzz of the sales and design teams, sits closer to the team’s social hub, where the teams can quickly collaborate and chat throughout the day.
The Suburbs: It’s all about space and housing for the operations team, with the neighborhood “pub” nearby for quick standup meetings.
The Countryside: The countryside’s fresh air and open spaces allow our finance and client services team to do their best-focused work. Plus, with a team of predominantly hybrid workers, the new flexible seat style makes sense.
These city, suburb, and countryside neighborhoods serve as hubs of creativity and interaction, enabling teams to come together, share ideas, focus, and engage in meaningful collaboration.
“Many members of our team were trepidatious about the change and feared how it would impact their previous work style,” Hannah recalled,” I know our team is going to be able to embrace the benefits of a hybrid neighborhood and unlock new levels of collaboration and community.”
Hannah and Anna’s collaboration was a perfect marriage of talents. Anna, known for her innate sense of style and ability to create captivating visual narratives, brought her expertise to interior design and spatial planning. On the other hand, Hannah excelled in understanding our team’s needs and translating them into practical, user-friendly designs. Together, they formed a powerhouse team that could tackle any challenge that came their way.
"Maybe it's the Taylor Swift record player that's my favorite touch?" laughed Anna, "Or the key design elements like the lush green Belle sofa or the Flos lighting within the showroom," Anna said as she pointed to the FLOS Birds on a Perch light above the new Design Lab.
“I now feel like there is a place for me to quickly have a touch base meeting or jump on a virtual call,” Hannah said, “It was empowering to design for our team with a true understanding of our needs. Plus, we had a lot of fun, and our new office reflects that in our culture of creatives.”
The Business Furniture + Co showroom is open for appointments to see how hybrid could work for your teams.