Industrious members can travel across the country, enter a workplace for the first time, and know exactly where to go to get a cup of coffee.
That’s no accident. The trick is to make work from anywhere not just possible but also effortless for members.
“I get to work in an area of our industry that is evolving constantly and that has so much room to be inventive and creative. It’s really exciting to have the opportunity to work somewhere where you can affect that kind of change,” says Amy Riggs, Industrious’ Senior Manager of Design and Growth.
That requires designing workplaces that balance consistency with local elements, so that you can immediately get to work and have a great day at Industrious. “There are overarching parts of the member experience that we absolutely want to be consistent so that members know what to expect, from how to use the space to what amenities are there,” says Riggs.
We sat down with Riggs to learn more about how her team builds workplaces at scale, the future of work, and what inspires her.
What does your role, Senior Manager of Design and Growth, entail?
I’m one of the leaders of our design team. My day-to-day is spent working with our design managers and designers, as well as with our real estate and construction teams and other cross-functional departments to deliver our environments to our customers.
I oversee the strategic direction and how we execute initiatives that support our business objectives. I spend a lot of my time managing vendor relationships and then setting an overall vision for how we can continue to elevate workplace design for customers.
The growth part of my role is ensuring that the design team can execute in a scalable way in order to support our company’s growth. We have a lot of new locations, and they all need to be designed.
What are some of the challenges of designing at scale?
Our vision is to create a network that allows employees to work from anywhere. Part of that vision is that there shouldn’t be a lot of surprises when you go to a different Industrious. You may be delighted that there are some local elements, but your experience and how you use the space is the same across the network.
From a design perspective, we’re trying to achieve a consistency that means when you walk into an Industrious, you know exactly where everything is, from where to go to get your coffee to how your meeting room will be set up.
We underwent a large effort last year to standardize our design specifications and create a more robust package of decorative standards so that things like furniture, lighting, and finished pallets can be selected based on what’s appropriate for that market. At the same time, it allows us to design quickly.
What type of changes do you see ahead for the future of the workplace and work from anywhere?
When I think about the future, I think about leveraging technology within the built environment. What I mean by that is really using technology to personalize your experience. When you walk into a room, maybe the temperature adjusts to your preference or the lighting adjusts based on the type of work that you’re doing in the room.
That’s way out there, though. Right now we’re really living in the era of choice: being able to choose how you interact with a space and how you want to work so that you’re not stuck at a desk but can choose the environment in which you work best.
If a customer walks into an Industrious, we want you to be able to choose whatever makes you most productive or happy — whatever you need at that moment. That’s why we design not just offices, but also alternative workspaces. There are quieter rooms with dimmer lighting intended for focus work or private conversations, and then there are busy rooms with brighter lighting intended for casual brainstorms or team bonding. The idea is that our locations have a variety of spaces to support whatever kind of work you’re doing. It even comes down to the posture of the chair you’re sitting; whether you have a hard surface in front of you; or whether you’re meant to kick your feet up and look out the window.
Flex space and service also come into play. We have a variety of office sizes and suites as well as Access Memberships that allow you to pop into a location by your house for a day. The idea is that our spaces are able to flex to support not just individuals but even businesses that may need something different in six months to a year.
What inspires you?
We spend so much of our time in the office. I care about thinking through what makes for the best environment. How do I want to work? What space would I want to work from for eight-plus hours a day?
With the pandemic, a lot of companies have opened that up to allow for working from other locations, which is amazing. I love that. My challenge as a design leader is what is an Industrious providing that people can’t get anywhere else?
For each business and each individual, there’s a different answer. For some people, it’s as simple as they need to get out of their house and want to always have the coffee freshly-brewed, always have a screen that they can use for a group call or a room in which they can hop into a group meeting. For others, it might be more about the actual culture that develops when coworkers come to the office at the same time.