Evolving the Workplace to Foster Innovation

Our environment has a profound effect on our health, productivity, and well-being. With the average adult spending 40 hours a week at work or more, increasing job satisfaction and encouraging productivity and collaboration are paramount to success. With five generations in Dell’s current workplace, it’s important to understand how different teams operate and ensure our environment supports them to do their best work.

Dell’s Legacy of Good 2020 Plan, aims to enable at least 50 percent of eligible team members to take advantage of flexible work opportunities, including telework and flexible schedules. To support this changing workforce on campuses across the world, our facilities team began implementing a Workforce Innovation program in 2010.The goal of Workplace Innovation is to create “neighborhoods of space” that promote greater collaboration and increase the sense of community at Dell.

“We just have so many smart, interesting people; we wanted to open that community up a little more by giving them more places to interact and innovate,” explained Dawn Longacre, a Global Workplace Strategist on the Facilities team. “People are reacting positively to these changes. They feel invested and more valued.”

One of Longacre’s first projects was one of Dell's campuses near headquarters, where the area was re-designed to create a collaborative work area with reclaimed natural wood, hotel desks, collaborative spaces with whiteboard tables, and small team rooms.

“We endeavored to expand the socialization aspect of break rooms by beginning to transform our cafeterias into much more than places to eat. People are now collaborating and socializing in these spaces all throughout the day,” she explained. “By offering different alternatives, we’re empowering people to choose where they prefer to work.”

Balancing collaborative, open areas with designated quiet zones for focus-intensive work can be quite a challenge. ‘Quiet zones’ provide places where those who need less noise to focus can get work done away from more open, potentially louder, collaboration areas.

Dell’s first LEED Platinum certified building, Dell 8, is being finalized in Bangalore, India.

“In India, we used to have plain vanilla space and people spent time in their workstations or they had to go and stand in the corridors,” said Gopinath Rajendran, a Global Facilities Program Manager, who led the program’s implementation. “As a part of the global workplace innovation, we came up with different ideas.”

The design team wanted to use sustainable energy and generate energy. Dell 8 features a solar panel array that powers the three-level underground parking garage and 700-person cafeteria space. The team worked to “bring the outdoors inside” with large windows and a lobby wall covered in live plants.

In Asia Pacific, KyuHyung Kang, an Operations and Facilities Management Sr. Advisor based in South Korea, has spent this year updating the Dell Singapore and Kawasaki offices, as well as managing office design in APJ.  A former architect, Kang knows that a one-size-fits-all design approach hardly works across different countries with their own unique cultures.

“We have to understand people and the culture of the projects,” he shared. “I’m familiar with my own country, culture and people, but it is a bit different when I’m working in other countries in Asia; it takes time to learn about what’s important to the people, their culture and work to create meaningful and innovative spaces in these locations.”

Impressed by Bangalore’s Dell 8 project, which used local unique patterns for accents on walls as well as incorporated the country’s character into design, Kang and the project team are establishing an open, organic and agile space that can flex to accommodate many small collaborative teams up to large town hall meetings considering business functions and apply local identities in design for Kawasaki renovation project.

So, what’s in store for the future workplace at Dell? The Workplace Innovation team is establishing an evolving workplace lab that will allow internal teams to work in different work environments and new technology within them. Team members will have an active role in shaping what the future of the workplace looks like.

Learn more about life at Dell at dell.com/careers.

About the Author: Meredith Harrison