Customer Space

EPM Business Group

EPM Business Group, a public services company headquartered in Medellín, Colombia, with locations in Central America, the US, and Europe, provides services that improve the lives of more than 13 million people.

EPM wanted to leverage the re-design of its iconic 15-story office building as an opportunity to transform its organizational culture—from one of hierarchical decision-making to a culture that fosters continuous improvement and superior customer experience. Recognizing its 4,000 employees as EPM’s greatest asset, the project team delivered a people-centric redesign to better support well-being and performance through spaces that foster collaboration and bring value to business practices.

Location

Medellín, Colombia

Project Specs

5,000+ Sq. Ft.
15 Stories
Open Plan Concept

"In an way, the building was too symmetrical-we had to break it up a little...It is a building with a very large space.How then to create a place where we could find new opportunities to work, socialize and collaborate among employees?" Andrea Sanchez,Studio Sur Director

Solution

EPM Business Group, a public services company headquartered in Medellín, Colombia, with locations in Central America, the US, and Europe, provides services that improve the lives of more than 13 million people.

EPM wanted to leverage the re-design of its iconic 15-story office building as an opportunity to transform its organizational culture—from one of hierarchical decision-making to a culture that fosters continuous improvement and superior customer experience. Recognizing its 4,000 employees as EPM’s greatest asset, the project team delivered a people-centric redesign to better support well-being and performance through spaces that foster collaboration and bring value to business practices.

The 20-year-old building with capacity for 4,000 employees wasn’t adequately supporting collaboration, connectivity, and adaptability.

There was distance between executive level managers and their teams due to physical constraints in the building.  Collaboration happened mainly in formal, scheduled meetings behind closed doors or in cubicles. The enclosed environment restricted people from meeting and networking with others even in the same department.

A Cultural Shift and Model for the Future

The 20-year-old building with capacity for 4,000 employees wasn’t adequately supporting collaboration, connectivity, and adaptability. There was distance between executive level managers and their teams due to physical constraints in the building. Collaboration happened mainly in formal, scheduled meetings behind closed doors or in cubicles. The enclosed environment restricted people from meeting and networking with others even in the same department.

“This company has transformed from being a local to a multi- Latin company,” said Horacio Valencia, Head of Department Architectural Designs. “In fact, the entire EPM program was directed towards a new work model or organizational structure. We asked ourselves what the workplace should satisfy, as it could not be the same as it was 20 years ago, but more in line with the vision of a multi-Latin company.”

The EPM Architectural team led and worked hand in glove with the Haworth Research Team and Studio Sur to create a pilot space with a focus on these key drivers:

• Transform the culture—from hierarchical to more efficient, effective, and creative.
• Foster collaboration to drive innovation and results.
• Understand the potential impact of the new space on the effectiveness of their employees.

Ultimately, these objectives would enable EPM to better attract and retain talent, enable faster decision making, and increase knowledge transfer. Outcomes would be measured to evaluate how employee well-being and health improve engagement and performance. The project would also utilize existing assets and maximize space to support sustainability efforts, keep the space flexible, and reduce operational costs.

Research-Based Design

EPM partnered with Haworth to run diagnostics and collect data to identify the issues that impact human, organizational, and facilities performance. This research forms the foundation for Haworth’s Organic Workspace® approach to space planning. As both client and partner, the EPM team collaborated from the beginning of the diagnostic phase to understand their current organizational culture and define the culture of the future. “Participation was key since the beginning,” said Diego Salazar, Corporate Communications Manager. “It allowed us to work with people in the pilot project, elaborate from their inputs, and get their feedback on the key elements we could improve.”