A Warm Welcome with an Amazing View
Warner’s new offices occupy five floors of a high-rise in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. When visitors step off the elevator and into the reception area on the 15th floor, they immediately know they’ve arrived someplace special.
Natural sunlight floods the space, which features city views on three sides. Visitors can choose to sit by the fireplace, settle in at a high-top table, or step through the glass doors to an expansive 2,500 square-foot outdoor patio with comfortable seating and Wi-Fi access. The skyline and surrounding landscape provide a sense of connection with nature, even though they’re in an urban setting.
A design committee with members from Warner, Haworth, Interphase Interiors, and GMB Architecture and Engineering held workshops with employees to discover their needs and preferences for the new space. The workshops resulted in principles to guide the overall project, including providing access to natural daylight, collaborative environments, a variety of experiences, plus reflecting the Warner brand using the color blue; and ensuring that it was easy to navigate and circulate through the space.
One design committee member, Warner partner Chad Kleinheksel has worked with Haworth for over 10 years on patents. He brought a unique perspective to the project based on his experience with Haworth engineers and new products. The new Warner office gave him the opportunity to be on the customer’s side—a role that benefitted this project and broadens his view as Haworth continues to develop products.
A New Approach to Attorneys’ Offices
With their new space, Warner let go of the traditional idea of attorneys working in private offices—with sizes based on status. All attorneys now have the same size offices with a height-adjustable desk, and they get to choose their furnishings from a curated palette and menu of options developed from the workshop findings. The options have similar styles for cohesiveness. However, each occupant can personalize their office by choosing finishes and upholstery fabrics, task chairs, guest seats, cabinets, and file storage.
Changes in technology have shifted the way work gets done in the modern legal office. Instead of an outdated 1:1 ratio of attorneys to support staff, Warner’s support teams now work in “neighborhoods” of 2–4 legal assistants. This promotes better social connections, collaboration, and camaraderie that encourages people to share ideas. Support staff is also cross-trained, so they can assist multiple attorneys and keep work flowing efficiently. As a result, if one supporting person is overloaded or out of the office, the attorneys can turn to the others, making work more productive.
Hoteling spaces provide private offices and sit-to-stand furnishings for visiting attorneys, allowing them to change posture, position, and location throughout the day. They also have access to the office’s social spaces, as well as the technology, Wi-Fi, and power they need to work comfortably without missing a beat.
More New Spaces for Choice, Variety, and Well-Being
The reduced private office footprint at Warner allows more room for newer types of spaces to support well-being and engagement. In addition to personalized individual workstations with height-adjustable tables for changing posture, Warner’s team can move to different work, relaxation, and social spaces throughout the day.
Coffee nooks on each floor provide a place to grab a beverage, talk with colleagues, and settle in with a laptop for a change of pace. The center staircase serves as a common path to move from floor to floor, encouraging serendipitous conversations and connecting people in different neighborhoods. Employees also have access to the 15th floor, which includes a cafeteria with a variety of seating, a cozy lounge, and a rooftop patio. Here, they can connect with the out doors, each other, and clients in an open-air, casual setting for breaks, meetings, and gatherings.
The wellness room offers a spot for individuals to escape and unwind, and accommodates the needs of new mothers. Tucked away for privacy and quiet, the space features relaxing, subdued lighting, and comfortable furnishings.
Conference rooms are equipped with Wi-Fi, as well as the latest connectivity and video conferencing technology, making it feel like clients and employees working from anywhere off-site are actually in the room during meetings. Adjustable chairs and tables enabled with power make the spaces both comfortable and efficient. At a moment’s notice, they’re ready for virtual meetings, interviews, training, and more—all via video. A reservation system developed by Warner’s IT team makes reserving each room easy, while an iPad outside each room displays the booking schedule.
The availability of online resources meant Warner could also reduce the size of their library. Co-located storage retrieval areas on each floor reduce the need for personal file storage in private offices. In fact, overall storage at Warner now requires 30% less space. In keeping with project goals, the new library area is a quiet, welcoming place to do research with soft seating and comfortable furniture.