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    This Is How To Manage A Dynamic Workplace

    Tiffany Bloodworth Rivers

    With a name that perfectly sums up its mission—regenerating neurons—Regeneron is constantly growing and changing.

    And it needs a dynamic workplace that can keep up.

    In a recent webinar hosted live at an event for the IFMA New York, Westchester County and Hudson Valley chapters, our own Mike Petrusky caught up with Regeneron’s director of workplace strategy and planning Michelle Fritsche and Dan Castner, principal of BAM Architectural Studio.

    Fritsche and Castner shared how Regeneron has created an agile work environment that can expand and contract as priorities change—without losing its brand identity.

    Giving The Best And Brightest A Place To Call Home

    Regeneron has pioneered treatments for conditions such as dermatitis, neovascular age-related macular degeneration and rheumatoid arthritis.

    With more than 7,200 employees in New York, New Jersey, Ireland and the UK, its team is constantly growing.

    The company has received many accolades over the years for both its innovation and its company culture. It was named the Top Biopharma Employer by Science magazine in 2018, named among the Top 10 Smartest Companies by MIT in 2017 and also made the Forbes list of Top 10 Most Innovative Companies that same year.

    This puts it in competition with some of the world’s largest companies in the war for talent and makes it that much more important to have attractive, conducive workplaces, Fritsche said.

    When Castner and his team came on board to help with the design, he realized the workspaces “needed to have interchangeability, but also some regularity.” Whether it’s office space or a laboratory, “you know when you walk into a space that it’s a Regeneron space; it’s been ‘Regenerized.’”

    That meant keeping certain design elements consistent, such as the company’s vibrant colors, use of glass to make spaces feel more open and the story of the company’s history along the walls.

    Planning For A Dynamic Workplace

    At the same time, the spaces also needed to be flexible enough that they could easily be reconfigured or repurposed as departments expand or contract.

    That meant using a “mechanical” design that would allow for easy movement of furniture. It also meant providing a mix of private and collaborative space.

    For instance, when designing a dynamic workplace for the IT team, they established “zones” with different levels of flexibility and privacy. There are single and double offices in the center, an interview room, a phone booth and meditation room and more traditional conference rooms. Along the perimeter, there’s a large project zone designed for collaboration. And in the Pantry Social Zone, the design resembles more of a residential environment. It’s designed not just as a place to eat, but a place to relax, socialize and brainstorm on comfortable couches.

    Powering-The-Change

    Focusing On the Future

    The next workplace Regeneron plans to tackle is its Sleepy Hollow Site. The building is a giant ‘W’ that sits on the Rockefeller Preserve, surrounded by a moat with jogging trails and gorgeous views.

    Fritsche and Castner said they are considering many factors in the workplace design, such as:

    • How to highlight the uniqueness of the building and give it its own identity, while also incorporating it into the Regeneron brand
    • How to achieve the right office-to-workstation ratio
    • Whether or not to have assigned seats or a more agile work environment
    • What workplace technology is needed
    • What amenities will make employees feel comfortable and at home

    Fortunately, like most decisions at Regeneron, it’s a team approach that mirrors the scientific method.

    “One of the cultural aspects of Regeneron is that we’re encouraged to question everything,” Fritsche said. “We do a lot of decision-making by consensus, and I think we get better results that way.”

    Tiffany Bloodworth Rivers

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Tiffany Bloodworth Rivers

    Tiffany covers leadership and marketing topics and enjoys learning about how technology shapes our industry. Before iOFFICE, she worked in local news but don't hold that against her.