by Larry Mead, Kate Kompelien and Kurt Schroeder
When we decided to remodel the Avtex headquarters, we wanted the space to mirror our values of innovation and engagement. We wanted to tear down walls and create an open space filled with natural light. Creating an intentional home for collaboration, and a central “hub” area were at the forefront of our remodel, with technology being the ultimate connector.
Avtex centers on combining people with technology, and within our new headquarters space, we have intentionally focused on bringing that brand to life by incorporating both natural and manufactured elements throughout. From organic elements like wood and fabrics, to developed materials like concrete and steel – materially manifesting our brand across construction, furniture selection, and décor was a central focus. Also, throughout the renovation process, we were intentional about reflecting the geometric nature of our primary brand logo throughout the selection of carpet, wallpaper, and flooring. When visiting our headquarters, you will find that the Avtex chevron is subtly mirrored throughout the office, reiterating our brand in a soft and nuanced way.
By translating our Avtex brand into a physical space through this renovation, we have created an open, transparent space - eliminating closed-in offices and breaking down walls to allow natural sunlight to pour in. We also incorporated light harvesting LED lights throughout the space, which use sensors to adjust brightness based on the level of outdoor lighting, mimicking natural light. Not only is this energy-saving, but they also offer a much gentler work environment.
The community of people at Avtex is key to everything we do, and with that in mind, our conference rooms were named after notable lakes within the Twin Cities area - hubs for community and connection in our city. Common areas were named after trees, the environment and wilderness being so core to our Minnesota home. Our largest common area, Aspen, was named in the spirit of the largest living organism on earth – Pando, a colony of Aspen trees that share one massive underground root system. Much like this interconnected system of individual trees, our hope is that Aspen serves as a hub for our team members to work together, build community, and operate as one unified organization.
Aspen is a real highlight of our new space, and the area where collaboration is most pronounced. This central space was designed and built intentionally, with teamwork in mind. As the central nucleus of Avtex, Aspen is an inviting area for employees to congregate, with ample space and plenty of seating and areas for small groups to work together. Technology is also on full display, with two 82” monitors on the wall and new camera equipment to support company meetings and gatherings. With tilt, pan, and zoom capabilities, our remote attendees will have a much richer experience, and feel as if they are at Avtex HQ as well. Aspen also boasts four large booths, where people can share content on 35” monitors to collaborate on projects, or just enjoy lunch together. And speaking of lunch: the common kitchen area includes several industrial refrigerators, high-end filtered water, an ice machine, and a bean-to-cup coffee machine that can make everything from a cup of drip coffee to lattes and mochas.
Throughout our refreshed space, conference rooms are equipped with Microsoft Teams systems to make meetings collaborative and productive. For groups of 2-4 people, we created small huddle rooms that are perfect for 1:1 meetings, or even for employees looking to take a quiet break. And our updated Wellness Room was created with new moms in mind. Designed to promote comfort and ease, it includes a sink, microwave, and comfortable chair. For added comfort and security, the Wellness Room requires badge access, and can be locked from the inside.
Perhaps one of the most impactful investments in our new space are the video capabilities. Video is more necessary than ever for communicating and broadcasting, both internally and externally. Especially in our post-COVID world, putting faces to the name of team members at Avtex is critical for positive and productive communication with both our clients and employees. To that end, we are working with a leading set production company to create a branded video production space that can elevate our webinars and digital events, as well as empower conversational dialogues with our subject matter experts. We are looking forward to using video more than ever before to speak to our clients “face to face”.
Even during normal times, 80% of team members at Avtex work remotely, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we sent everyone home. While we were disappointed to lose out on the in-person connections with all the team members who normally work out of our headquarters, having our space empty did have the unexpected benefit of creating a flexible timeline for demolition and construction work. We were able to take our time, and truly make the most of our renovation. Once it is safe to do so, and we can slowly start welcoming employees back, our open floor plan and numerous booths and hub areas can support social distancing. We hope that by creating an attractive and engaging environment with a co-working vibe, our employees will be excited to come in and feel comfortable in the many areas of Avtex HQ.