Wednesday, November 08, 2017  06:00 AM
designWorks Partners with Homesite Insurance for Fresh, Updated Space

Familiarity can bring comfort, ease and dependability. So can experience.

In the longstanding relationship between designWorks and Boston-based Homesite Group, everything is in play. Working together for more than a decade on updates, furniture changes and increasingly efficient use of space and technology, the companies have developed a shorthand that breeds consistently positive results.

“I’ve done Homesite’s work for the last 12 years, and we work well together,” said Scott Miller, senior project interior designer and account manager for designWorks, a unit of HiTouch Business Services. “They’re constantly changing things, and every two or three years they’re looking to re-outfit a space or update it so the users have the latest technology. Obviously, square footage is very expensive, so they’re trying to get more people into the space they have.” In addition, he said, Homesite has relocated a few of its facilities and acquired more space over the years.

The most recent collaboration took part in Akron, Ohio. The building, originally a B.F. Goodrich facility, had been cored out some 20 years ago to add more natural light. The result is a bright and welcoming space rather than a cavernous one. It holds 432 workstations in its 55,000 square feet, and the collaboration with HiTouch included both circular and 5x5 workstations for call center and claims employees, collaborative areas, enclosed meeting spaces and a full-service kitchen and café with automated service.

"The Haworth Compose furniture system has such exceptional aesthetic appeal and great adaptability.  These features allowed us to create work spaces that fully leveraged the unique overall building floor plan and open spaces," added Miller, who was especially pleased with the fact that the space was fitted with raised floors which allowed the team take advantage of the power feed from underneath the workstations. 

“That means you can have all the power and data lines running under the floors, so there don’t have to be any power poles, or anything going up through the ceiling,” said Miller, whose official role on the project was furniture specifier and vendor.

As the insurance company updated its technology, it also wanted to offer ease of use, flexibility and an improved environment for employees.That included monitor arms at each workspace, desktop power, USB modules and potential for standing desks, a white sound system, and glass-topped panels to offer privacy without making the area feel closed in. (And yes, all that natural light meant a bit of careful space planning to reduce glare on screens, and the standing desk option required offset desks.)

The agreement included furniture from Haworth; Homesite had used the Premise line in the past, but shifted to the newer Compose system and changed office colors to more blues for a cleaner, more streamlined, updated environment.  It also created a “neighborhood” feel with seating and wall colors to match each area.

Project planning began in May 2016, and designWorks kept its portion of the overall project right on schedule, finishing in July 2017. The project also included the Infinity Construction Company of Cleveland including Zack Hodgson and his team of contractors, as well as Kate Ryan, senior designer/manager at Stantec located in Boston.

“Homesite does have its ideas of what they want to accomplish when they come to me,” Miller said. “They know what they want to do.”

And with so much collaboration between them, designWorks knows how to deliver.


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