Taking Oatey to the Next Level
Oatey staff were spread across three campuses that physically disconnected people, impeded technology and movement, created silos, and required people to walk or drive from different locations. Company leadership desired a space that would improve adjacencies to foster collaboration and drive innovation. The new building would also incorporate sustainability goals and employee well-being in an open, transparent environment. And it would be designed to effectively adapt to the ever-evolving ways people work.
Nurturing a Collaborative Culture
The project began with a workplace strategy session to define the goals that would carry through to the end result: a 47,000-square-foot, two-story building located on a 7.6-acre site bordering the Cleveland Metroparks.
An open floorplan was designed to promote collaboration, communication, and transparency, with people adjacent to each other. “We tried to sprinkle collaboration spaces throughout the entire open plan,” said Jodi van der Wiel, Associate Design Director at Vocon, the architecture and design firm that partnered with Oatey. It includes a variety of open and closed conference spaces, as well as standing and seated collaboration areas to offer people choice in how they work and interact.
The design team was deliberate about using lower height workstations and glass doors on conference rooms to maintain visibility among coworkers. Multiple indoor cafés and casual meeting spaces with ancillary furniture were created to bring people together. “The furniture and wall systems support communication and collaboration,” said Matt Heisey, Principal at Vocon. “The way the space is organized allows people to bump into each other during the day. This building supports the ‘casual collisions’ that promote innovation—on the spot rather than having to schedule a meeting.”
Even the process among project team members was collaborative, bringing solutions to the table without impacting schedule, which ultimately saved money.
Promoting Sustainability and Well-being
Many organizations invest in green buildings to reap the benefits of healthy and productive employees. When people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors, creating a healthier workspace demonstrates that a company values its workforce as well as sustainability principles.
With the natural beauty of the Metroparks—an extensive system of nature preserves—in its back yard, Oatey’s headquarters offers employees access to daylight, views of the park, and connection to nature, which is important to foster well-being at work. A 2,800 square-foot exterior terrace overlooks the scenic Rocky River Valley.
The material palettes—including earthy, warm elements—connect with the natural setting to reinforce sustainability principles in a contemporary design. For example, a wooden trellis was built over a collaborative work area, and wood is incorporated into the walls in various places around the facility. Water-saving fixtures were installed, and flush fixtures use rainwater from a cistern located outside the building to reduce water consumption.
Additional amenities for staff provide many ways to promote well-being, including a fitness suite, a quarter-mile outdoor walking path, a picnic area, and indoor/outdoor cafés. Heightadjustable workstations allow for sit-to-stand options to enable movement for people at work. Oatey has also partnered with LunchOwl, an innovative workplace lunch service that provides employees with fresh and energizing lunches.