metronews.ca Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Tear down this wall!
Open-concept offices. Would a workplace free of dividers help your team develop a stronger sense of community?
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The next generation of employees might not find it conducive for their work if they set up shop in a gloomy, no-frills environment — not when they can work in a space that is esthetically pleasing. Vito Rezza, CFO for IPG Mediabrands, says their old Toronto office, which housed a couple hundred employees for the global company, was more like the former. “It was really ugly. Just a small dingy office.” When the company decided to redesign and renovate the space, Rezza knew it was time for something different. The result was a completely openconcept space without any private offices. Metro talks to Rezza — one of the driving forces behind this office strategy — about the effects the new space
Vito Rezza, the CFO for IPG Mediabrands, poses in the new office designed by figure3 in Toronto. figure3 Interior Design
has on the office. Why did you decide to open up the office like this? We had grown from about 150 to 220 people in the span of three years. So we said, “We are growing and it’s time to create the kind of space representative of who we are — with the ability to share ideas and promote creativity.” We worked with figure3 Interior Design and in one of our meetings with them our CEO said, “I think we need to lose it.” I said, “Lose what?” He said, “The walls and our offices, the three private offices.” I thought about it and it was a compelling idea. What effect does this have on
you and the employees? When people first saw the floor plan, there was some trepidation. Some people had 20 to 30 years working in an office, and now they had to downsize. Afterwards we waited weeks for people to complain and not much came. We’ve all had to learn to work a bit differently, but the trade off has been a more collaborative environment. People see each other more now. Employees from different departments — from finance to research — know each other personally. It’s easier to find people, easier to approach people at their desks. There are still areas in the office for private work if you need to focus more. Metro
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Published on Nov 13, 2013