About three months ago, the Bradford Group moved into glorious new offices at the Fifth & Main Building in East Nashville. This is a big move for us – not just a physical move, but a big jump in the development of our company culture, which we have been very deliberately working to shape for about two years now, under the watchful eye of business culture guru Andy Bailey at Petra Coach.
The result – as you can see in the photos that accompany this blog post – is a light-filled, high-ceilinged, inviting home for a group of very smart and creative people. Here are some of the ways we incorporated the Bradford Group culture into our new offices:
- The best space is shared by everyone: The most energizing and attractive location in our entire 5500-square-feet is the corner overlooking the intersection of Fifth & Main. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide a panoramic view of downtown Nashville. Our interior designer – the impeccably talented folks at Southeast Venture – assumed that this would be my office, and the original plans had it laid out this way. However, that would have been repeating the same “the boss gets all the good stuff” motif from our previous offices, so we made this special place our communal break room and kitchen.
- Smart people need to work undistracted: Though the current trend is an open office layout with no offices – and though that approach would have been cheaper to build and would have allowed us to cram in more people – it would have caused the quality of our work and the attitudes of our staff to suffer. Several studies have shown that open space arrangements lead to lower productivity and unhappier people. So, our new space consists primarily of individual offices, with a fair smattering of open space to foster collaboration.
- Let there be light! There is only one office in our new space that is not exposed to natural light. Because interior walls are broken up with lots of glass, even interior offices get plenty of sunlight – which just makes people feel better.
- Flying our colors: Yellow – specifically Pantone Yellow 123 – is throughout our offices: in the carpet, on the walls, surrounding the reception area and kitchens, in chair fabrics, on the bathroom soffit. We worked with our interior designer to make sure that our corporate color is prominent in our space, though not overwhelmingly so. It is a tastefully used accent color. In addition to branding our space, yellow is also a sunny color that provides a psychological uplift, as I noted in my earlier blog on the psychology of color.
Moving into our new, specially designed office space has been one of the best things we ever did to build a strong, positive corporate culture. I highly recommend it.
* Special thanks to Randy Parham and Roscoe High at Southeast Venture, who brokered our purchase of our office condo at Fifth & Main, and to David Creed at Sperry Van Ness / Nashville, who subleased part of our space so we could afford to make our cool new offices financially viable. We couldn’t have done it without them.