Optimizing Spaces for Better Engagement: Creative Office Resources
For the team at Creative Office Resources (COR), the largest MillerKnoll dealer in the country, designing beautiful and productive workspaces is core to their mission. When the time came to find and design a new office of their own, they knew they’d need to use their talents to build a space that supported inspiration and collaboration.
After occupying space in the Boston Design Center for 20 years, COR was on the market for a new space. As they started looking for a new office, they knew two things:
- High Boston real estate prices meant their new space would have to be significantly smaller.
- Reduced space would require them to shift to a flexible work strategy to accommodate their growing teams.
With support from Robin, they were able to decrease their office footprint in Boston by 32% and build a modern space that supported their hybrid teams.
Let’s find out how they did it.
increase in headcount
reduction in office space
increase in office attendance
Challenge: Smaller Space, Larger Headcount
The first step in finding a new office is identifying what you want in a new space versus what you can afford. Originally, COR occupied a 22,000-square-foot office and supported 120 employees and visits from outside vendors with 110 assigned desks and 5 conference rooms.
In May 2022, COR moved to an office with 15,000 square feet, cutting their space by about 32%. On top of that, they merged with another company and almost doubled in size, increasing their Boston employee count from 120 to 240 employees. That meant almost twice as many people would be using a much smaller space.
To accommodate their new team, COR transitioned to hybrid work and went from a 1:1 desk-to-employee ratio to 42 reservable seats. Eliminating assigned seating allowed them to continue to support all of their Boston employees and offer them more flexibility and choice.
Since they already offered their teams one day of remote work per week, they hoped the transition to a flexible schedule would be easy, but they were met with new challenges:
- Coordinating and managing flexible seating for 100+ employees
- Getting their teams on board with hybrid work
- Designing their new space for optimal collaboration
“We had to transition to a new hybrid work model because we can’t possibly fit everyone here on a day-to-day basis,” says Paul Emery, COR’s Director of IT. “But we also had to figure out how to manage that. How do we allow people to come in with the peace of mind that they’re going to have a desk, that they’re going to have a space to work?”
COR was faced with a major culture shift. They needed to simultaneously accommodate a group of new employees, and implement a new workplace strategy.
“Our biggest challenge was reserving desks and conference rooms. And then on top of that, getting our employees to embrace it and follow the protocols and rules,” says Paul.
How did they overcome the change? With support from tools like Robin.
Solution: Hybrid Tools for a Vibrant Office
After some research, COR knew Robin’s suite of hybrid work tools would help optimize their office and support their hybrid workforce.
“We realized it was going to be a great solution. Not just for conference room management, but our desk booking problem,” says Paul. “After doing a few run-throughs with the team, we settled on this solution.”
They were excited to simplify the workplace experience and utilize Robin’s booking features for desks and other resources like shared lockers and spaces. The IT, Design, and Project Management departments worked together to incorporate Robin into their policies and culture. As a team they:
- Spearheaded Robin integrations into Microsoft
- Created a new office layout to promote collaboration
- Bridged communications between the teams and employees
With a new tool in hand and renovations complete, the COR team set out to turn their office into a vibrant space for collaboration and connection.
The next step – getting their teams on board.
The Roll Out: Introducing…Flexible Seating and Robin
Strategically planning for change management is always crucial, but since COR was already undergoing multiple transitions it was more important than ever. Initially, their teams were hesitant to embrace this new strategy, give up their assigned seats, and incorporate new technology in their day to day.
With an emphasis on clear communication, the COR team began rolling out Robin to their teams. They started by hosting town halls for the entire company where they explained their new strategy and prepared for the transition to hybrid work. They also introduced Robin alongside other tools and emphasized the benefits that came along with it.
“We would demo Robin and a few of our other tools. We were selling it as is, ‘hey, this is going to be something new, fun, and beneficial,’” says Paul. “Not only can you reserve a desk, but you can make a favorites list and you can see where your friends or your colleagues are sitting.”
The new features and user-friendly app made the implementation process seamless. Soon almost everyone was using Robin to move around the office, visit other East Coast locations and host outside vendors and teams.
Outcomes: Better Savings, Better Collaboration, Better Optimization
With support from Robin, COR successfully ensured they could save on real estate costs and continue enabling their teams to do their best work, whether in Boston, at home, or at another location. With their new hybrid work strategy, they now accommodate 60% more employees in a space that is 32% smaller.
COR’s office has become a community space and a resource for teams, vendors, and outside guests.
- Office attendance has increased by 40% with Robin and is continuing to improve
- Workplace experience surveys show the Boston office received a 97% satisfaction score
“There are people here every day, and they love being able to find and book their desks,” says Paul.
Since implementing Robin in Boston, COR has incorporated the tool at 3 other locations and is planning to continue integration at 7 other offices along the east coast. By 2023, this should include offices in New York, NY and Portland, ME.
“Originally, this was just going to be for Boston, but then our other locations would come visit. And they loved Robin and they wanted that,” says Paul. “Now we’re pushing this out to 10 locations on the East Coast. New York’s our next big build out and then Portland, Maine.”
Smaller teams are excited to gain insight into their offices and the ability to book a desk wherever they are. Robin helped COR bring their new office to life, all while navigating company changes, massive employee growth and a shift in workplace culture.
“As a result of our merger we were a new company entering a new way of working and facing the same challenges as all of our clients developing a return to office strategy,” says Kevin Barbary, CMO & Partner of COR. “The technology provided by Robin has been instrumental in helping us provide our employees with a seamless platform to not only return, but to reengage with former and newer colleagues.”