A nearly virtual renovation exceeds expectations with real-world results
Workspace Interiors by Office Depot® helped FAH renovate the common areas in its headquarters in a fiscally responsible manner. This beautiful renovation served as a truly positive experience for staff members and made their return-to-work transition easier.
Founded in 1966, FAH is the national representative of more than 1,000 tax-paying community hospitals and health systems throughout the United States. In late 2019, FAH had renegotiated its lease, and as part of the agreement, the landlord agreed to cover the renovation costs of the FAH headquarters common areas within the space — but it was a very tight budget.
The design firm that FAH engaged to help with its renovation also drove the solution for design. In order for FAH to meet its budgetary goal, Workspace Interiors worked with the design firm to develop several alternatives to the firm’s high-end solutions.
Colors, fabrics, furniture and physical dimensions can help make a workspace shine — or keep employees in the dark. FAH was ready to undergo a renovation that would bring form and function to its headquarters like never before.
The FAH renovation stemmed from the growing need to address the setup limitations of the former kitchen, reception area and two conference rooms — as well as the outdated furniture and finishes within these areas. One conference room was too small to be useful, and one was completely oversized. Valuable space was also wasted in the former reception area.
In addition to these space considerations, the walls, furniture and decor were in need of a refresh. The areas in question were outfitted with bulky, heavy, oversized furniture that felt more at home in a late 1990s environment than in a modern office. Darker woods and dull paint colors were also a sign of older times.
It was time for a change, and a much-needed renovation provided an opportunity for improvements that could leave a lasting impression.
Weekly updates were provided to the FAH staff. The construction firm uploaded photos every week, and the architecture firm sent sample boxes of fabrics and chairs.
The FAH lease was signed in late 2019; however, work didn’t begin until July of 2020. It was early that month that the initial call between FAH SVP of Operations Kerry Price, the design firm and Workspace Interiors took place.
At that time, the majority of Washington, D.C., was virtually closed down in an effort to help minimize the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus that impacted much of the community. Because of this, the FAH team no longer worked out of the headquarters location and instead worked from home. This also resulted in Workspace Interiors not being able to visit the FAH space or meet with the customer or design firm face to face — something unprecedented for a project like this.
Despite the challenges, the renovation moved forward and was ultimately completed on June 18, 2021.
By leveraging strategic manufacturer relationships, Workspace Interiors was able to provide a “wow” factor while still meeting budget considerations.
Because Workspace Interiors is highly experienced in working with the design community, it was able to easily embrace the design firm’s approach and work together to bring FAH options based on the distinct aesthetics it asked for — but not necessarily the manufacturers it specified. Workspace Interiors strove to exceed the design firm’s expectations by successfully substituting “like” products at a lower price point for FAH without sacrificing quality.
As the project progressed, the Workspace Interiors team continued to value-engineer the design firm’s specs to meet the visual, aesthetic design requirements and details but implemented a combination of manufacturer partners to meet FAH’s budget.
Progress remained at the forefront of the FAH renovation, even though the various players involved had few interactions in person.
Communicating remotely during this time period was critical for project completion. Workspace Interiors had regular project team calls with FAH’s design and contracting teams, and all furniture presentations were done remotely with fabric sample kits sent to the FAH team members’ homes.
CET software renderings were key in helping FAH visualize Workspace Interiors’ recommended products while still meeting the aesthetic requirements of the design firm.
Fortunately, construction was not disrupted in any way.
The office reception area was cut in half to make way for a new coffee bar that welcomes staff and visitors alike when they walk through the door.
The end result of FAH’s renovation was nothing short of stunning. Gone is the heavy paneling, dark wood and fluorescent lighting. White floors, LED lighting and fresh paint helped create a brighter and more contemporary workspace.
FAH now has a kitchen with glass walls for a bright and open feeling. High-top countertop tables make the space more sleek, modern and engaging. And speaking of space, a new air wall divider was installed in the large conference room to help employees reconfigure the space for medium gatherings or large meetings as needed.
As for the furniture? The bulky chairs from the past were replaced with sleeker ergonomic chairs to help FAH employees stay productive in comfort. Also, the previous conference room tables were replaced with stackable tables on wheels that can be repurposed to reset any room for added convenience and flexibility.
“Everything is bright and beautiful, and it’s helped the morale of the group coming back. It’s amazing all of this took place without a lot of people physically being there.”
On June 22, 2021, the FAH staff members returned to their headquarters along with a few new hires. Many employees were apprehensive about this return after 15 months of working remotely. However, the surprise of the beautiful renovation served as a truly positive experience for the staff and helped make the transition even easier. It was like entering a brand-new office.
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