The climate relative to the insurance industry in California is challenging and businesses leverage real estate in order to accomplish rightsizing, consolidation, streamlining and improving operational strategizes with intent to increase profits and maximize business positioning. Responding to the changes in the marketplace, this insurance company, through strategic planning with JSDA, adopted a new philosophy of blending departments to increase communication among team members for the sole purpose of eliminating finger pointing toward claims with no good solutions. The theory: by grouping teams of people from different departments, build camaraderie, build information and knowledge, and shared experience in equitably solving claims problems, and thus reducing the time for solution and long term cost. Our solution applied this effective approach for this firm.
Grouping one or two individuals from underwriting, technical support, clerical staff, and claims was the foundation for the new team. The new teams were organized in four to six (4-6) member clusters in a regularly identified way throughout the plan. This solution produced a high density of employee to space utilized while providing a quality officing environment with a high degree of flexibility for informal conferencing and one-on-one meetings.
Give rise to the new alternative officing concept, the firm chose to maximize day lighting long before code requirements in the new office plan by placing the private offices on the interior. The office is oriented with the longest dimension laying along the rated tenant corridor, with interior glazing connecting the people with those in the open plan. Translucent glazing was used to create seated privacy. Only one private office was strategically placed on the perimeter, grouped at the reception zone for alternative use as a conference room, due to frequent travel by the executive, which generated the opportunity for a shared use space.
A circular form was chosen as a design direction as a formic reward for people
at key transition points throughout the plan: reception areas, circulation areas and main corridor points. The circular pattern symbolizes the coming together of disparate groups and the new philosophy of shared information, better communication, and cross-trained employees, which improves the firm’s business performance.
Clusters of Herman Miller Action office workstations are organized in a “streetscape” to maximize the connections to quality power points and to provide a sense of place to teams of employees. The sense of place is further enhanced through the use of two heights of acoustical panel systems, creating greater separation between teams and increasing communication among team members.
The firm, owned by Xerox, reports that they have reduced claims by more than 20%, which they directly attribute to JSDA’s reorganization of teams ideated in the planning process. The firm adopted the design strategy for a similar restructuring for more than 10 floors of their San Francisco corporate headquarters to continue the advancement in their business goals toward greater profitability.