Comfort & Convenience
in an Activity-Based Workplace
New York City, NY
Creating an appealing work environment and optimizing expensive square footage in the heart of Manhattan.
Proven concept, expanded approach
A major accounting firm introduced the concept of “hoteling” or “hot desking” at its Manhattan location several years ago in an effort to improve employee satisfaction in an open office environment. The concept worked well and the firm’s leadership decided to expand on it when they moved to a new office at Times Square.
In this flexible approach to office design, the vast majority of employees aren’t assigned a permanent office or cubicle. Instead they choose the work environment that best suits their changing needs throughout the day. For instance, a junior accountant might reserve a conference room for a few hours of collaborative work in the morning, then use a “phone booth” to join a conference call after lunch, and spend the rest of the day at a workstation. Only a few senior partners have permanently assigned offices.
Because most employees don’t have offices or cubicles, they need secure, reliable day lockers to store their personal belongings, laptops, and other supplies and equipment.
“This is an activity-based workplace, so the vast majority of the people are hoteling. Only partners and owners have permanent offices.”
– Office Services Manager
A sleek, bright appearance
The design team was committed to creating an appealing work environment while also optimizing the expensive square footage in one of Manhattan’s most prestigious buildings. The perimeter of the new buildout would have stunning views of Times Square and the surrounding area, and the corridors and workspaces toward the building’s core also needed to be bright and welcoming.
The project required nearly 700 day lockers over three floors, and the lockers took up so much wall space that they actually became a design element throughout the new office. To brighten interior corridors and create a feeling of openness, the design team chose steel day lockers with high-pressure laminate fronts in a warm white tone.
The firm invests heavily in recruiting and retaining top employees. A modern, well-functioning workplace plays a significant role in those efforts.
Comfort and convenience
In addition to enhancing the interior design of the new space, the day lockers needed to be convenient and easy to use. The lockers would be accessed multiple times a day by nearly every employee, so reliable, trouble-free operation was an essential consideration as the design team weighed their options.
The lockers would help employees mark the transition from personal time to their work day. The design team wanted to make that transition as seamless and pleasant as possible.
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Staff had been using “gym style” temporary lockers with keys at the old location, but that proved to be cumbersome. Staff would place their belongings in an available locker, turn the key, and take the key with them. At break time or at the end of the day, they would use the key to unlock the locker and the key would stay in the lock, indicating the locker’s availability. Because staff got a new key every time they used a locker, the keys were often lost or misplaced. That led to inconvenience and wasted time.
The design team decided the new office would feature permanently assigned lockers with combination locks. In addition to the combination locks, office services staff have a master key that can unlock any locker. To help prevent lockouts, the office services manager keeps a roster of every employee, their assigned locker, and their combination.
“We were constantly making copies, and we were keeping hundreds of extra keys. It was a waste. The combination locks were more practical for us.”
– Office Services Manager
The day lockers have been useful in other, unforeseen ways.
For instance, many of the firm’s employees shop online and have packages delivered to the office. The problem is that the small mailrooms on each floor only have space for letters and bills; they’re not equipped to handle boxes. That’s why the lockers have become an extension of the mailroom. When a package arrives for an employee, office services staff use the master key or the combination from the roster to unlock the locker and place the parcel inside.
The lockers’ internal ventilation has also been useful. As part of the firm’s commitment to employee health and well-being, free fruit and other snacks are set out for employees every morning. Employees tend to make their selections and place them in their day lockers for safekeeping, and they often leave fruit in the lockers overnight with the intention of eating it the next day. Sometimes, though, they decide to work remotely for a few days or get called to a multi-day meeting in another city. When that happens, gaps along the lockers’ interior corners allow odors to escape and alert office services staff. Staff can then open the lockers and remove the fruit before it becomes a more serious problem.
We created a master list with everyone’s locker number, their mail slot number, and their locker combination. We also have a master key if we need to drop something in.
– Office Services Manager
Enduring solutions for modern workplaces
At Spacesaver, we know that innovative workplaces boost employee engagement and productivity. That’s why we work with architects, designers, and our clients to design solutions that are as attractive as they are practical.
As you begin designing a new or renovated office, contact your local Spacesaver consultant to request a free space assessment and learn more about your options.