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Gold Stevie Award Winner 2018, Click to Enter The 2019 Stevie Awards for Great Employers

Company: OBI Creative, Omaha, NE USA
Category: ;Achievement in Workplace Design - for up to 100 Employees

Entry Title: Supporting Creative Productivity with a New Workspace

Achievement Essay:

To create a company at all is a precarious endeavor wrought with perseverance and tinged with equal parts fear, failure, passion and improvement. To then grow that business from a small cluster of close-knit colleagues to a crew approaching 50 professionals is an equally perilous venture. Yet that is exactly the adventure that Mary Ann O’Brien led her talented team of industry veterans on in 2017.

Originally an intrapreneurial entity created by O’Brien while CMO of Gateway Computers more than 15 years ago, the once boutique ad agency has grown over the past five years into a full-service advertising agency. Its original office building reclaimed space from a historic brick edifice. Never intended for true commercial space, its structure and composition exacerbated already stressful growing pains. Poor lighting, temperamental heating and cooling, precipitous stairs and noisy upstairs neighbors weren’t its most challenging aspects.

With account services set up on one side and creative services on the other, the construction of the building interrupted, rather than facilitated, collaboration.

Over time, leadership worried, the physical separation could settle into anti-productive work behavior.

A decision was made to reorganize internally around strengths; then, a new workspace in a new office building in a new location, was planned to allow the newly realigned team to thrive.

Each employee completed an exhaustive Clifton StrengthsFinderTM training course through Gallup, which included personal evaluation and team coaching sessions into members’ strengths and weaknesses as well as communication and task/project preferences. At the end of the process, not only were titles retooled and teams reformed, but also the culture was reinvigorated with the development of new departments.

Now, instead of “Account Service” on one side of the building and “Creative” on the other, the agency was organized into highly efficient and deliberately refined clusters of Account Management, Business Development, Creative Services, Research, Finance, Human Resources and Strategic Communications. Each function is now led by an industry veteran, who is supported by professionals ideally suited for their role and work together.

Supporting Creative Productivity with a New Workspace

OBI CEO Mary Ann O’Brien chose to craft a new workspace for her team from the ground up. Starting from a blank slate, OBI drew up plans for an integrated office space in the heart of Omaha’s thriving industrial corridor. All of the following crucial elements were planned into the design of the new workspace:

-An abundance of natural light & energy-efficient LED lighting
-Suitable space for hosting client appreciation events
-Ergonomic chairs and workstations
-Clustered cubicle design, with work groups arranged next to each other, yet within close proximity to everyone in the organization
-Elimination of physical barriers between functional work groups
-Six collaboration spaces with varying seating and table designs to encourage creativity, conversation, brainstorming and productivity
-Full kitchen with dining space for employees to relax and bond
-Tack walls, smart screens, light tables and a sound-proof room to accommodate creative production
needs
-Fully ADA-compliant workspace
-Private nursing room for employees
-Inclusion of color and textured walls to inspire creative thought and interaction

With an additional office location in Des Moines, Iowa, and employees who would need to commute between the two spaces regularly, robust teleconferencing and communication capabilities were built into the new space. Additionally, extra office space and a company car were made available for commuting employees to use.

While those strategic moves required investments of time, money and capital resources, they are already paying dividends. Last year, OBI set and met a gutsy revenue goal of $5 million, and halfway through 2018, the agency is on pace to break its revenue records. The new workspace is certainly a part of that success.

Finally, OBI employees can say their workspace reflects their hunger for excellence in all things.

Achievement Summary:

OBI drew up plans for an integrated office space in the heart of Omaha’s thriving industrial corridor with all ofthe following crucial elements planned into its design:

-An abundance of natural light
-Ergonomic chairs and workstations
-Clustered cubicle design, with work groups arranged next to each other, yet within close proximity to everyone in the organization
-Elimination of physical barriers between functional work groups
-Six collaboration spaces with varying seating and table designs to encourage creativity, conversation, brainstorming and productivity
-Full kitchen with dining space for employees to relax and bond
-Tack walls, smart screens, light tables and a sound-proof room to accommodate creative production
needs
-Fully ADA-compliant workspace
-Private nursing room for employees
-Inclusion of color and textured walls to inspire creative thought and interaction

Webpage Links:

https://www.obicreative.com/obi-moves-to-millard-lumberyard-district/

https://www.obicreative.com/obi-creative-announces-move-new-location/

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