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20 February 2018

Chicago Business Journal Talks to Tom Marquardt About How the Workplace Can Build Culture

Tom Marquardt, director of interiors in HOK’s Chicago studio, shared his thoughts on how companies can use workplace design to help build culture.

Excerpted from the Chicago Business Journal:

Leaders focused on creating winning cultures look at big workplace trends — open offices, huddle rooms, collaboration technology platforms — and say, we need that.

But are these things definitive or just supportive? How can leaders think about workspace and its role in creating culture?

Marquardt has been designing workspaces for over three decades. He says that too often, workplace culture and business strategy operate on separate planes — but when their purposes align, real magic can happen.

According to Marquardt, workplace design should always start with the question, What would be right for our people, our population and our work?

Business strategy is another filter through which companies can explore design. Whether you’re looking to consolidate, foster cross-departmental collaboration, or shift the way clients experience your firm, any of these goals can drive workspace planning.

In some cases, Marquardt says that the right design expenditure can actually transform a business as much as a new marketing strategy itself. Efficiency doesn’t always come from reduction in space or square footage. It could actually have the opposite effect in creating an environment counter to corporate work processes, goals and bottom line.

Marquardt advises clients to make design an authentic extension of corporate and brand DNA—and that doesn’t just mean logos and color palettes.

“When a lot of people think of brand, they immediately think of retail or consumer product companies, and a logo identity point of view,” says Marquardt. “Brand is also the very nature of the company, the culture, experience, stories and how they function. This is their brand truth, which is deep in all aspects of the organization and the buildout.”

Chicago Business Journal