August Luncheon

August Meeting Review

By Emily Liner, Risk Management Associates Inc.

The Greater Triangle Chapter of IFMA was proud to host a panel of Quintiles employees for a discussion in their latest space optimization project. They shared with us their tactics and strategies to complete a successful move.

Quintiles was founded in North Carolina in 1982. It has been offering solutions for the healthcare sector and most prominently for the pharmaceutical industry for more than 30 years –   Quintiles is a global company that knows how to expand; and with any great company’s expansion, more employment is needed. Over the past several years Quintiles has experienced growth at their global headquarters. By 2011, Quintiles was expanding at a rate of over 10% per year and at this fast pace they could calculate that by 2013, they would have no more seats for their employees.

During this period of growth, Quintiles also consolidated its QRTP campus. The Global Real Estate and Facilities Management department was faced with many challenges during this time. We kicked off the August monthly meeting with a panel of guest speakers from this department. Ashley Bryant, Courtney Barnes, and Ethan Tecklenberg joined us and laid out the raising problem within the organization.

This team met weekly to review their organizational needs while reviewing their existing layout. It was clear that they had to maximize their current foot print and this created the idea of new open collaborative seating.  An implement seating approach with bench style and open workspace could increase to 370 additional seats within the building.  Technically this means, employees’ desk were downsized from 8’x7’ to 6’x5’; 180 square feet per person.  Some people refused to accept the idea that this would work. The idea of sitting so close to your neighbor couldn’t actually be efficient or could it?  Turns out sitting a little closer has been good for business. It’s easier to turn to your neighbor and brainstorm an idea or ask for help. The fear of your neighbor being too loud and disruptive hasn’t been the case either.  The workspaces were configured without a divider panel, in order to maximize space but each floor is equipped with sound massing units (white noise); a few volume cranks up and most employees have adapted.

They carefully mapped out what days, which departments and what floors would be affected.  They had the scheduling down to a science with little room for error. Through different phases per floor, groups of employees would be set-up to work from home for a 5 week span; during this period, additional cable, data and power was set-up and system furniture was configured.

Quintiles successfully accommodated 2000 employees, while reconfiguring over 800 workstations. They relocated 2000 employees while vacating and decommissioning their headquarters’ building, and at the same time not having any disruptions to core business functions.