MBH Architects Built Collaboration and Employee Well-Being Right Into Its Office Space

MBH Architects Built Collaboration and Employee Well-Being Right Into Its Office Space
From Recruiter - February 15, 2017

When Alameda, California-based architecture firm MBH Architects lease was up, the companydecided it was time for a change. Rather than renegotiate, MBH found a former biological manufacturing laboratory a mile away from its existing office, gutted the space, and created an office tailored to its business practices, organizational values, and company culture.

At first, we realized it was the better plan for us to move, cost-wise, explains Rachel Baber, MBHs director of operations. Then it just became an amazing opportunity tocreate a space that reflected our culture better than the space we were in. We were very separate in the old office, and now, you can stand up and see everybody.

To Design a More Empowering Workplace, You Need to Start by Determining Who You Are as an Organization

MBH partnered with full-service construction company BCCI Buildersto design and executethe new offices interior layout. Far from being a simple construction job, the process turned out to be one of intense organizational growth for MBH.

BCCI interviewed each department and had MBH employees fill out questionnairesabout how they worked and what their goals were. The resulting office design had a major impact on MBHs processes and procedures, Baber says.

It was half finding out how we work and half finding out how we wanted to work, Baber says. For example, we ended up going paperless because we werent going to have file cabinets in the office.

It was an interesting process, because a company can believe who they are, but when somebody else comes in and does the interviews and focuses on each department individually, we realized how much better the new office was going to be for us, organically, Baber adds. It was really interesting working with an outside interior designer that didnt know us.

Environmentally Friendly and Employee-Oriented

Baber says that MBH intended from the start to make a healthy, sustainable workplace. Among other choices to support this goal, MBH became one of the first businesses in Alameda to pilot the citys new commercial composting program.

Eventually,MBHs building choices added up to earn the new officeLEED Gold certification.

It wasnt our intention at the start to go for LEED Gold, but just by making the right decisions, it turned out to be a lot easier than you think, Baber says. [There is not much to it] other than the right garbage [disposal], using the right paint, and the actual buildout procedure.


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