Corporate Headquarters Impact on a Company, a City, and a Community

Designing a new office in today’s modern society means connecting work and people in order to foster innovation. A high-performance office environment is becoming more and more important to employees as well as potential applicants. Businesses and designers are thinking outside of the cubicle to see how physical location and a little workplace strategy will grow their success and positively impact their employees.

Corporate Concepts is the Host Sponsor for the first-ever IIDA and AIA collaboration series, which celebrates notable architects, designers and projects in our market. The goal is to educate guests on how design can impact client success. With McDonald’s new Headquarters featured as the first topic of the series, several experts discussed how the fast-food organization’s move from the suburbs to a booming neighborhood downtown impacted Chicago, the Fulton Market neighborhood and the company itself.

The expert panel consisted of Tish Kruse and Neil Schneider of IA Interior Architects, Primo Orpilla of Studio O+A, Scott Phillips of McDonald’s, and Grant Uhlir of Gensler Chicago. Their enlightening insight spurred conversation around the importance of aligning company values in the workplace, offering employees the luxury of choosing where they work within the space, and the impact of office location on finding and retaining talent. Here we will dive into three topics that expand on the findings these professionals brought to the table.


What Does Your Space Offer Beyond a Place to Sit?


Job interviews often focus on what an applicant has to offer your company, but ask yourself – what does your company have to offer an applicant? Proximity to talent is a major focus for large companies today. The Fulton Market neighborhood allows access to great restaurants, hotels, activities and shopping. Employees have the luxury of the live, work, and play lifestyle at their fingertips.

McDonald’s did a great deal of research on where to place their headquarters before the decision to relocate was even made. Their location in Oak Brook was expansive and comfortable for employees, but the draw of a new neighborhood downtown ultimately aligned with their values of being progressive and modern.

Fulton Market is quickly becoming a hub for innovative companies. With easy access to public transportation and the promise of continued development, people are highly attracted to the neighborhood. The movement of large companies to the area speaks for itself.

Choosing a location for your business that will be of value to your employees is just as important as creating an inviting environment and workplace culture. Chicago’s ever-changing, growing market offers a variety of areas suitable for companies of all kinds.


The Importance of Options in the Workplace


Shared spaces and open plan offices continue to grow in popularity as businesses move away from the constraints of cubicles. The nature of open office plans means the design can be flexible and personalized to your company. 

The experts on the panel shared how they have seen a positive impact on employee happiness by planning flexible spaces throughout the office. An employee interview revealed that a favorite part of the new headquarters project is the ability to choose. The end-user knew they wanted to build a space that was different from their legacy space– a transformative new environment that felt more flexible, engaging and comfortable.

Creating an office environment that includes a variety of these Shared Spaces can be a great way to jumpstart a company with a new sense of self. It has proven to help retain talent by giving employees a sense of freedom, satisfaction and purpose in the workplace.

Knoll believes that by designing well-planned shared spaces that address cultural context, provide amenities, and give solutions for issues like privacy, you will improve not only the dynamics of your workplace but between your employees. By providing an office that fits your team’s needs and gives them more autonomy throughout the day, you will also create a more productive environment.


Conveying the Brand Experience

As we continue to discuss culture, it’s important to touch on brand experience. As stated by Branding Strategy Insider, “a brand is built from the inside to perform on the outside.” How do your employees experience your brand throughout the day? In what ways do they feel motivated or included your business by the way it’s portrayed in your space?

Creating a brand experience means incorporating company values and creating a sense of camaraderie and teamwork throughout your office. An internal brand experience helps make your employees feel appreciated, included and valued. It also gives them a sense of pride in their company.

At the McDonald’s Headquarters, for example, artwork and installations make a big statement and tell a story about the company. They also make more subtle nods to their brand by implementing their logo into door frames and displaying french fry graphics on glass divides.

By celebrating your brand internally and engaging employees through conversations about your company’s beliefs, you’re helping create a more positive, productive office culture. Employees are also empowered to continue to tell the story of the company to guests, visitors, or potential new employees.


Create Value in Your Space

For businesses today, creating a space with value for your employees should be the goal, and adaptability is your greatest tool. Flexible spaces are designed to meet employees’ physical and emotional needs and engage them in a brand experience that makes them feel appreciated and enthusiastic. Great design will ensure that your modern business is ready to attract and retain top talent and to keep pace with evolving office space requirements.

The best place to start is by partnering with a company who can translate your brand’s mission, vision and values into a living, breathing space. Contact us for an introduction and we’ll help you populate your space with the ideal materials to meet your business goals.