An engineering firm goes from ‘me’ to ‘we’
Employee-owned engineering practice Morrison Hershfield took what could have been a typical corporate office relocation and turned it into a daring — and successful — digital workplace transformation. Kasian guided and empowered their client every step of the way, transforming how this market-leading firm would work and collaborate.
When the current way of working doesn't necessarily feel broken, it can be difficult to see the need for a fix. But, Morrison Hershfield was seeking more than just a physical move and embraced the opportunity to evolve how they carry out their day-to-day work. This forward-thinking practice looked to accelerate its transition to a technology-enabled and design-driven workplace. This shift not only impacted the daily habits and goals of around 300 staff members that needed to be explored and mapped out, but the in-between spaces beside desks, offices, and meeting rooms that were used to store rolls of drawings had to be defined, planned, and optimized.
To foster the evolution of an office culture, our design philosophy was brought into play, and we began exploring the space where people interact within the built environment. Understanding the Executive Team’s vision and desire to include their people in the process, our team collaborated closely with Morrison Hershfield’s employee stakeholders from various groups, conducting workshops to establish the intersecting needs of each individual and department. The project was more than just the reimagining of physical space ― it was also a robust change engagement that needed support. The flow from individual tasks to collaborations and online meetings needed to be seamless, matching the openness and flexibility of the workspaces themselves.
Principal, Corporate Manager, Office & Facilities
We immersed ourselves in Morrison Hershfield’s corporate culture to get a lived sense of what the client needed to thrive. Our team then conveyed their designs through various sketches, plans and 3D renderings to help Morrison Hershfield’s engineering staff feel comfortable in the new space; further, we explained how best to utilize it through furniture, workflow, and collaboration technology. Each design iteration was based on the input of the people who would be using the space on a daily basis.
After implementation, our design team ran follow-up workshops with the same stakeholder groups to understand what they were feeling in the space and what was required to fine-tune it accordingly.
Moving away from the traditional model of large, private work areas shifted the focus from 'me' spaces to 'we' spaces. The client’s workforce found themselves spending more hours in the office by choice: they enjoyed the energy of the new space and wanted to collaborate more. This newfound flexibility fostered innovation, skill-sharing, and mentoring the upcoming generation of engineers.
That collaboration has continued to this day, as we support Morrison Hershfield in their exploration of a new way of working. This strategy has become the blueprint for all of their other office locations, and we continued with renovations of Morrison Hershfield’s Seattle, Houston, Miami, and Ottawa offices. Kasian and Morrison Hershfield have gone on to collaborate on additional projects as well, with the client and service provider roles shifting, as we forge a relationship that is built to last.
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