The offices of Appriss’s Louisville headquarters are literally open for business. Floor-to-ceiling windows bring in natural light. The few offices with doors are in the center of the building surrounded by wide areas of flexible workspace. It’s open, light and airy, and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Byal says that’s by design. (See slide show below for a peek into the remodeled workplace.)
“It was important for us to get all of our Louisville employees under one roof, but we wanted to find the right location and space before moving,” he notes. “After looking around the city, we found we were comparing all of the options with the space on Linn Station Road.”
The building had just come under new ownership and the new owners at CBRE (United States Commercial Real Estate Services) offered to help fund a complete renovation of the floors and office space. “We ripped everything out, and started from scratch” says Byal. “Our goal was to create space that was conducive to collaboration and allowed us to easily follow the Agile Method of developing tech solutions. We also wanted it to energize our employees.”
Facilities and Operations Manager Leslie Townsend, a member of Jeff’s team, played a key role in finding the right location and in managing the months-long project, but the redesign wasn’t just based on the input of a few executives. “We surveyed our Louisville employees to find out what they wanted in the new space before we started the design stage,” explains Byal.
Help from local companies
The team at Appriss selected local companies to help bring their ideas to life, including Swope Design, Kelley Construction, Office Resources, Inc. and Strategic Communications. “We had regular planning meetings throughout the process and the decision-makers from each company were sitting at the table,” Byal notes. “They were great to work with and very responsive to our vision and goals.”
Appriss has three distinct units serving different industries: Appriss Safety, Appriss Health, and Appriss Retail. Appriss Safety occupies floors two and three, Health is on the fourth floor and corporate is on floors one and five. Retail is based in Irvine, CA. Safety is the largest of the three divisions, with its roots in Louisville (VINE),Each division has its own floor, while the shared services such as legal, human resources, and accounting are on a separate floor with the executive office.
Every floor opens into a spacious reception area that leads directly into a huge break area with enough seating for half the floor (or more) to sit and drink coffee. A soft gray is used throughout the offices, but each of the floors has its own unique color and bright splashes of complementary colors in the furniture and accents.
The dozen or so glass-walled offices are in the center of each floor, alongside meeting rooms for any size group. “In our old space we had 14 meeting rooms, now we have 44,” says Byal. “We also have ‘phone booths,’ which are small rooms to have private conversations.”
The majority of each floor is used to create flexible workspaces for the employees. Clusters of cubicles allow departments to be in the same area, but throughout each floor are high-backed booths, sofas, chairs, and other areas where employees are free to work from.
“We have moveable white boards and sit-to-stand desks that allow for different types of configurations,” Byal explains. “It’s flexible and allows employees to work wherever they want.”
It isn’t just workspace the new building offers. The first floor includes a restaurant-sized cafeteria with state-of-the-art vending machines with everything from snacks and drinks to lunches, a wall of refrigerators and a counter top stacked with microwaves. Tables and booths are set up for small and large lunch parties and there’s even outdoor seating available.
At any time during the day, employees are free to head to the gym for a workout, or take a break in the game room, which has a full-sized ping pong table, video games, board games and comfy chairs and sofas to curl up in. Employees don’t even have to leave the building to see the doctor. The on-site wellness clinic is located near the cafeteria, complete with a waiting room and receptionist.
The tech in the new space is as impressive as the redesign and includes secure wi-fi, video conferencing, smart boards and digital signage, along with simple but smart touches like the displays outside each meeting room that have easy-to-see digital bands. If the display is green, it means the room is free. There is also an integrated scheduling tool that lets employees book a room from their office or standing outside the door.
The result is a workspace with all the comforts of home. It’s designed to foster the creativity that has led to the company’s continued growth. For Byal, the success of the new space is easily measured. “People who used to work from home are now coming into the office,” he says proudly.
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In the meantime, enjoy these photos of the new workplace at Appriss.