This article explores the cutting-edge office design adopted by SCA, a Swedish paper products manufacturer which has its American headquarters in Philadelphia. Acknowledging the fact that “work environment can have a direct impact on productivity and the level of energy, enthusiasm, and creativity,” SCA’s VP of Human Resources requested a new office design from their design firm that was, above all else, “inclusive and team-oriented,” with “everyone treated in a similar way.”

Daylight permeates the new interior of SCA’s offices thanks to glass walls and low panel heights, promoting the transparency in business dealings which SCA values. A central elliptical staircase ties all three floors together, while workstations and office furniture are visibly consistent to avoid any sense of hierarchy. The private offices necessary for several departments were made slightly smaller to save floor space for collaborative group areas. Meeting spaces range from formal to informal, with the most notable placed at each landing of the central staircase.

Another company priority is to make employees feel comfortable. Natural elements like wood flooring, in-floor planters, water features and ample daylighting were incorporated and green building certification was achieved.

The office design elements received rave reviews from employees, who have taken to coming in earlier, leaving later and working more energetically while at work.

Source: Sofia Galadza, Contract (San Francisco); May, 2006

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