Culture Fit Crucial in Design

If you’ve ever done business in Japan you most likely took a huge stack of business cards with you and presented it to people with both hands. The exchanging of business cards follows a ritual in Japan and for American business people to succeed there, they need to understand the culture. If you’ve ever done business internationally, you would have studied the business culture of the country you were visiting to ensure you and your company would assimilate into their way of conducting business.

At Perkins+Will we keep all the information about a particular project in a team room

When we begin working with a new client on their space, it is critical that we understand what their business does, as well as the culture of their organization. Is it formal or informal structure? Do people primarily work autonomously or do they work together in teams?

At Perkins+Will we primarily work in teams. When we renovated our building we were able to design our space to reflect that style and methodology. I wrote last week about our workstations. This week we will delve into how our office space reflects our philosophy and culture of collaboration.

For longer projects members of a team will bring their laptops and move into the team room to facilitate collaboration

When we reduced workspace size per person by using benching, we were able to give that space over to team rooms. We keep all the information about a particular project in the team room and bring the team working on a longer project into the room with their laptops for large portions of the project.

Another aspect of our design that aligns with our philosophy is that we believe people should be able to work anytime and anywhere. We created venues throughout our space where people can sit and work in our indoor communal space.

One of the most popular places for people to work when the weather is nice is on our wonderful outdoor porch. This was an amenity that was created when we renovated the building. The space was not part of the previous structure and design of the building.

We love to be able to work outside. It’s very inspirational to be directly across the street from the High Museum of Art.

In our previous space we had high panels and individual cubicles. Although we have reduced the personal work area for each employee, they all love our new space and are completely inspired by it. The openness, flexibility and emphasis on collaborative space speak to our culture.

Drop by sometime to visit. Be sure to bring lots of business cards.

– Joyce Fownes, Interior Design Leader, Perkins+Will

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