Getting Creative in a Church

When our digital agency’s operations grew here at Overit, we needed to move from our cramped building in Albany, NY, to one with increased functionality that would enhance collaboration among our 35 employees.

So when we came upon a unique opportunity to renovate a 1930’s Spanish monastery-style church, we jumped on it. And after working with 3tarchitects, we now have a new workspace that stirs creativity, fosters collaboration, and includes a state-of-the-art multimedia facility that expands our in-house capabilities.

The choice to renovate a church provided a creative opportunity to design an open-space work environment. High ceilings and the wide-open construct of the church’s nave were inherent design characteristics that, after some modifications, provided the perfect shell to house our operations and showcase our personality.

 

We decided to keep the original structure intact and to reuse/repurpose existing materials wherever possible. We repurposed wood from the pews desks, but left in place the original columns, light fixtures, and stained glass windows.

At the front of the nave is the alter area, which we rebuilt to house a recording studio for filming and recording commercials.

Having to climb a flight of stairs hampered inter-departmental communication in our previous location. So in the new space, we arranged desks across what was formerly the nave, and grouped members of each department together. Now, employees can collaborate with other departments simply by crossing the room.

Each desk is large enough for 2-3 employees, which fosters more intra-departmental communication. In our old space, this collaboration required traveling to another office. Now, we just swivel our chairs. We erected partitions to create more private-office spaces, and we transitioned the choir loft into a large conference room.

The space is also a tool for showcasing projects and services, while also giving clients a glimpse into the office culture and personality. Nerf ammunition litters the floor, ping-pong games take place in the studio, and the occasional office-chair race is commonplace.

But this uptick in fun correlates with increased worker productivity.

Measuring performance

We measure the benefits of our new space by the overall improvement in our quality of work, the higher number of new client acquisitions we’ve received compared to those from our old space, and the increased employee morale our staff demonstrates. Plus, we also have closer relationships within our departments and across our teams.

As a whole, we are able to work faster and more effectively within their new environment. The open office design allows employees to quickly connect while bolstering employee morale. The personality of the office is reflected in its design, and for Overit, it seems that ideas travel further without walls.

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