How workplace design can support your company goals

Case study: GRI | Global Reporting Initiative

“Align the tangible and intangible”. When an organization is coping with internal changes such as acquisitions, transitioning its hierarchy system or dealing with a corporate identity transition, it is essential to manage this change by facilitating the right internal infrastructure. This will ensure coping with changes will run smoother. One of our clients was going through a similar challenge.

Know your client

GRI¹ is a non-profit organization that helps businesses and governments worldwide understand and communicate their impact on critical sustainability issues such as climate change, human rights, governance and social well-being. This enables real action to create social, environmental and economic benefits for everyone.

After an internal restructuring of the organisation, it became all the more apparent that the physical workspace of GRI did not support their mission, vision, values or goals. Therefore, a redesign of the workspace was needed in order to support the new direction of the organisation and help foster the culture that was desired.

“This is one of the main surprising revelations for many clients – if the intangible aspects of an organisation dynamic change, the tangible has to follow.”

AKKA Architects GRI Global Reporting Initiative Workplace Design

A strong foundation makes way for growth

During the community consultation sessions of the first phase of the AKKA process, we uncovered that the main challenges of GRI’s workplace lie in a sub-optimal distribution of the space causing restrained work dynamics, disturbed circulation the flows and hindered exchanges and collaboration. Collaboration is essential to grow as a business, and the office space had been causing an undesired gap between senior executives and the rest of the employees making the hierarchy in the organisation too vertical and the communication too strained. This created a barrier for one of GRI’s objective to decrease the formality of the culture and instead to develop a culture that allows ideas to come from any person within any team in the organisation. For this both collaboration and horizontal hierarchy are essential.

Affecting business through design

Through the four phases of our AKKA process, we uncovered the potential of GRI’s workplace and we redesigned the entire two floors to support the company’s vision, empower its mission and communicate its values. GRI’s new workplace is one that is intentionally designed to foster more horizontal exchanges, to nurture an informal culture and to enable interaction and collaboration among all employees.

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“We would like to express our gratitude for the time you invested in helping us get to a clear picture.  Anna and I really appreciated the call we had with you, your responsiveness, and the great empathy that you exhibited throughout – we certainly felt very “well taken care of” when engaging with you.  On the practical side, we especially appreciated that there was the option to obtain robust bottom-up cost estimates for the construction itself (not every design architect offers this).”

-Private Client of AKKA



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