When the New York-based staff of The Boston Consulting Group decided to leave the midtown office that had been their home since 2002, they knew they wanted to create a more comfortable, welcoming space.
The global management consulting firm, which was launched in 1963, was third on Glassdoor’s list of the best places to work in 2017. But since the old office’s interior design and architecture didn’t accurately reflect the personality of the company, they wanted to make sure their new office did.
“The best decision I made was to encourage the designer to push as far as she could go in terms of a non-corporate look and feel,” senior partner Ross Love told Business Insider during a recent visit to BCG’s new office in the Hudson Yards development of Manhattan. Love was part of the internal team that was tasked with overseeing the design of the new space.
The layout was designed with the “collision coefficient” in mind — an idea that Love got while visiting with Zappos founder Tony Hsieh.
“[Hsieh is] a bit of a guru on design … I went on a tour of Zappos out in Las Vegas, and he talked about how you could deliberately design an office to maximise the number of collisions [between people],” he said.
This, in theory, could create a more efficient work day, cutting down on the time spent on formal meetings, email replies, and phone calls. Ahead, take a tour of the new, thoughtfully-designed offices, where more than 500 New York-based BCG employees spend their days.
The BCG New York offices are located on the west side of Manhattan in Hudson Yards, the largest private real estate project in the US. While much of Hudson Yards is still under construction, its 17 million square feet of development are projected to be complete by the mid-2020s.
Instead of a traditional receptionist, BCG designed a concierge desk that can accommodate various guest requests, like how to get to the closest subway or where to grab lunch. Without the usual barrier of a receptionist desk, the openness immediately creates a welcoming atmosphere.
BCG is located on six upper-level floors of 10 Hudson Yards, taking up 193,295 square feet of space.
The lobby acts as a central location for the internal stairwell, which allows you to access all of the floors.
Employees are encouraged to take a coffee break or meet informally with another coworker at the High Line Cafe. Here, they can enjoy drinks from New York favourite Joe Coffee, as well as free breakfast and lunch.
'We designed this as a horizontal town square, complemented by vertical town squares, which go up three floors,' Love said.
If seating isn't available in this main common space, employees can venture up the stairs and pick another comfortable spot to meet casually.
If you don't want to go down to the High Line Cafe, you can make your own espresso. The baristas from Joe Coffee teach classes on how to make the perfect latte.
'(Meeting) just all happens organically and naturally and without the need to set up a formal meeting or formal phone call,' Love said.
As for more formal work stations, BCG offers convertible sit-to-standing desks in their open-seating floor plan.
These areas are known as the 'neighbourhood seating systems' and are appropriately named after New York City neighbourhoods.
There are more than 100 convertible rooms that can be rented out for a team meeting or brainstorm. Rooms can even be booked for weeks at a time in case there's a major project in the works.
'We refuse to call them offices because 'offices' implies personal ownership, and we're trying to get people used to the idea that (they don't own the space),' Love said.
State-of-the-art video and audio capabilities are in all of the conference rooms, including this 24-by-6-foot display screen that acts as a touch-enabled digital canvas -- perfect for big presentations.
Or, if they need a quiet moment, there are places called 'wellness rooms' that are available for sitting comfortably to gather your thoughts.
For those arriving to the office straight from a red-eye flight (or if you simply need to freshen up), showers are available on the premises.
In comparison to the company's old office, the new BCG office has reduced the floor space per person by 32% while almost doubling the number of seats in collaborative spaces.
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