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Health Alliance Plan
Tower 14 HAP Building

Changing Spaces to “Insure” Better Results

Workspace design is a powerful, culture-shaping tool. Increasingly, organizations are using it to create real competitive advantages, in part by attracting the best and the brightest. The renovated HAP workplace is designed to do just that.

So how do you make a workspace that attracts and engages top talent? HAP first commissioned NBS to conduct an assessment of current and future real estate needs. The feasibility study examined the physical space that was needed for 800 staffers. Along with a survey of employees, the study enabled HAP to better define the sort of culture they wanted to create. It also provided insights into how an environment can influence behavior and productivity. As a result, the concept of strategic design as an opportunity to improve company performance stretched their thinking about real estate as an underutilized asset.

Once the architectural firm of Harley Ellis Devereaux was selected, a comprehensive design program was developed. The plan identified six principles essential to the design of the new HAP workplace. Among them: make it an agile space responsive to changing market conditions; make it a social space that will support collaboration and learning; and make it authentically HAP, a true expression of the brand.

A surprising idea emerged at the intersection of two of their goals: less individual space was needed to nurture the desired cultural change and better align people based on activities. Previously, large private offices ringed the perimeter of each floor, with the interior space divided by tall panels to segregate individual workstations. Natural light was a luxury. However, these physical and social barriers were incompatible with their current goals. The new floor plan is open and realigns space by function rather than job title. Individual footprints are smaller. By designing open workspaces based around activities, the barriers to interaction were removed. HAP has flattened its hierarchy and created a greater sense of community and collaboration. As an added benefit, the open plan produced significant savings in construction costs.

Replacing tall panels that surrounded workstations with shorter ones still provides seated-height privacy but eliminates the visual isolation between colleagues. Workstations are configured back-to-back without separation to encourage knowledge sharing and camaraderie. Reclaimed floor space was reallocated for collaboration and meeting areas. Before, group work was done in a limited number of oversized and underutilized conference rooms. Now there are numerous, smaller, technology-enabled areas designed for teamwork, casual meetings, or simply for a healthy change of posture.

Ultimately, the redesigned workplace celebrates the brand’s unique character. HAP’s friendly, upbeat colors are more prominent. Flooring, furnishings and finishes were carefully integrated throughout all eight floors to create a unified environment. Now it’s clear that HAP is a cohesive organization that values teamwork and innovation.

For more information about Health Alliance Plan, visit HAP.org

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