When software company Pega began planning their headquarters homecoming, they weren’t interested in demanding their employees’ immediate return. They empathized with the new needs and desires of their people born from an extended season of remote work, and they understood that their office would need an upgrade if it were to become a space that people would want to come back to.
Pegasystems began their renovation with a standardized furniture manufacturer, but quickly realized their unique needs and creative ideas for the space could not be accomplished with a one-size-fits-most solution. That’s when the company connected with Studio Other, recommended by a competitor who recognized that our custom capabilities would potentially be a perfect fit. Additionally, our team held a long-standing relationship with the architect, Visnick & Caulfield, so we were eager for the chance to co-design alongside them again.
In initial discussions with Pegasystems, they referenced a charmed space in Harry Potter called “Room of Requirement,” a room that appears and transforms into any space that the wizard needs it for in that moment. Simply put, the company wanted a workstation that embodies the same idea and can adapt to each user based on their needs. A daunting initial idea, we decided it would best be tackled by first learning what exactly those needs are. We began by surveying five people—one supervisor and four team members— from every department. Through these surveys, we learned that each team collaborated highly in team areas and at their desks. For that reason, they also had a hard time diving deep into heads-down work and felt that there was an overall lack of space designated for individuals in general.
We kicked off the collaboration process alongside Visnick & Caulfield and Pega with various design sessions. During initial ideation, Pega was certain they would move forward with a customized version of our Harbor Stone® system. While modifying this workstation design would have certainly worked for their space, we were intent on delivering something closer to their “Room of Requirement” dream with every piece selected specifically for their users’ needs. We eventually landed on a solution that provides every user with a whiteboard desk surround that can also be used as a collaboration area. From this surround, users can pull out rigid felt screens that not only provide a sense of privacy, but also subtly announce that the team member is in heads-down mode and would prefer minimal distraction. Lastly, the unique shape and layout allows for users to never directly face another team member and be spaced out enough to give a sense of ownership over one’s own space.
Studio Other provided 425 workstations in a neutral grey and white color palette that dually functioned as a highly-collaborative and heads-down space, meeting the Room of Requirement ultimate vision. The success of this project was largely due to how deeply involved Pega was in the co-design process, with weekly live design sessions and full-scale cardboard mock ups.