How a Non-Profit is Embracing the Collaborative Culture in New Space
When it came time to relocate ECMC’s Corporate offices, ECMC wanted to better reflect their deep culture and noble mission by providing an amenity-rich environment that offered opportunity to their employees. Flexibility and collaboration were a must in their recently completed 106,000 SF space in Minneapolis. As a nonprofit corporation dedicated to helping students recognize and realize their potential by investing in, creating, and providing innovative education solutions that support schools and improve student educational outcomes, ECMC was acutely aware of the benefits an open office environment can provide – benefits not often realized in the nonprofit arena. ECMC sought to produce an environment that would ultimately decrease the number private offices by 60 percent and increase collaborative space by 30 percent. The change not only reflects their brand values and commitment to its employees, it also better enables them to achieve their mission.
ECMC called upon the design team at NELSON, a global architecture, design, branding, and consulting services organization to create a design solution to help them achieve their goals. Reviewing the company’s mission, value, culture, and overall needs, the team imagined a new space for ECMC. Capturing the true benefits of collaborative environments including open areas for impromptu meetings for increased flow of information, a variety of gathering spaces such as the large employee hub directly adjacent to the 3,500 SF roof top deck with incredible views of downtown Minneapolis, amenity rich conference and meeting rooms, and a series of monumental staircases that connect all seven levels of the new premise were introduced. Bright colors and finishes create subtle nuances within a design that celebrates the existing rich and natural architectural elements of the building structure. Environmental graphics provide wayfinding cues and help to create integration of space while various styles of seating provide employees with comfort and flexibility.
ECMC’s move from a suburban campus to the downtown central business core was calculated to help recruit and retain a vibrant employee base. NELSON’s design concept features an open, dynamic workplace allowing planned and impromptu interactions, reinforcing ECMC’s company values of Integrity, Service, Excellence, Teamwork, and Wellness.
The completed space is a contemporary environment that speaks to ECMC’s mission and culture while opening the company up to the numerous positive outcomes that an open office environment brings. Playing up the nonprofit’s collaborative nature, the office combines the reduction of private offices with an increase of gathering spaces, allowing for spontaneous collaboration while ECMC continues to bring innovative products and solutions to provide students with tools for financial literacy, career placement, and lifelong success.
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