Vertex is one of the fastest-growing pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. today. Known for its groundbreaking Hepatitis C and cystic fibrosis treatments, the 29-year-old company opened an $850 million headquarters in the South Boston Waterfront in 2014 to massive press fanfare. The goal was to consolidate operations from 11 smaller buildings to accommodate 2,000+ employees in 1.6 million sq. ft. The new headquarters would help fulfill the city and company’s vision as a crown jewel in Boston’s Innovation District and create the best employee experience for its people.
It was amazing. Within 24 hours, we knew where everyone was and should be, even our remote and outsourced workers. Thanks to iOFFICE’s integration with Workday, we have real-time location and occupancy intelligence. the iOFFICE data feeds all the other systems, and it’s accurate across the portfolio."
With two 16-story, futuristic glass-faced towers connected by a walkway, the space encompasses more than 150 conference rooms, 75 small informal collaboration spaces, a 500-seat cafeteria, as well as a 3,000 sq. ft Learning Lab used by the Boston Public Schools and community groups. In 2017, Vertex also opened its Hub Lab Space, an incubator for promising biotech startups, to benefit from the shared knowledge, resources and laboratory space that Vertex could provide.
For Jeff MacKay, Senior Director of Global Operations, the move triggered the need for a single platform with complete API integration to manage the transition and the new space. RICOH, their print services provider, recommended iOFFICE.
To encourage innovation, Vertex collaborates with small biotech firms and rents out space and lab equipment, allowing these companies to achieve significant savings.
However, because tenants in this space need separate IP protection and security, the hub has to be run as a separate business. The firms are billed individually even though they are using shared conference rooms, equipment and other building amenities. To make this arrangement work, MacKay transformed iOFFICE’s facility maintenance software into his tenant billing system. He uses it not only to manage shared conference rooms, but also to track rent and fees, including license fees and janitorial service agreement fees based on square footage.
Using the Insights module, MacKay’s team and tenants can submit requests and get data readouts of their nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) samples and media prep used in their experiments, then create PDF copies that are added to the rent. He also uses the Insights module to track compliance issues based on an audit of each tenant’s training—from lab safety and background checks to emergency training.
MacKay is also responsible for 750 parking spaces that are managed by a third party on a recurring work order. He uses the Insights module to build a custom report to bill his tenants and Vertex employees for parking.
“THE iOFFICE PLATFORM AND HUMMINGBIRD HAVE GIVEN US THE ABILITY TO CUSTOMIZE THE WORK ENVIRONMENT AND MAKE IT OUR OWN FOR THE BENEFIT OF OUR PEOPLE.”
Vertex’s Real Estate Group is now looking to develop a global office standard to create a consistent employee experience (EX) around the globe. “Five years ago, we were a small biotech firm with no real best practices," MacKay said. "We needed a study of how employees and visitors used the space as it felt like a law firm with lots of 6x8 cubicles and a 1:1 seating ratio. Every time we wanted to do something, it meant knocking down a wall. With 10 years left on 1.1M sq. ft. lease, we know we need flexibility in both our space and working policies to stay competitive. We want to create a space that people really want to work in."
Vertex created a cross-functional team including RE, FM, IT, HR, and Corporate Communications and launched a survey to benchmark qualitative/quantitative EX elements. Using the iOFFICE platform, the team analyzed badge data to track occupancy and mapped physical floor data to determine travel patterns and cost centers across groups. That team is now branching out to other departments for input. Using iOFFICE HUMMINGBIRD and the Wayfinding app in conjunction with Relogix sensors and Roam’s digital displays, tenants can scan a QR code to find and book a conference room or even lab equipment, all with the goal of making the employee experience better for everyone at Vertex’s Hub Labs.
Vertex never stops innovating. The company is exploring options to update its reservation systems and mobile Mail modules in Boston with iOFFICE in the future. What’s clear is that the flexible employee experience is guiding Vertex to satisfy the workplace and the workforce of the future.
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