For anyone that’s worked at our Minnesota-based corporate headquarters, or had the chance to visit, you’ve likely encountered our current great divide. We’re talking, of course, about Lexington Avenue. This busy street sits directly between our Arden Hills and Shoreview campuses, serving as a literal and metaphorical barrier between our teams.
We’ve made the most of it. Land O’Lakes, Inc. is farmer-owned cooperative, after all. Working through challenges for the greater good is part of what we do. But by late 2018, everyone at headquarters will be working from the same campus for the first time. This is a big deal—and we couldn’t be more excited.
On Nov. 16, 2016, we officially broke ground on our new building. The 155,000 square-foot facility sits directly north of our existing Arden Hills building, which is being renovated. The construction will help us add 200 jobs, and will include new amenities such as a fitness center, wellness center and onsite childcare. In both the new and existing building, the beautifully (re)designed interior will offer more access to natural light and variety of collaborative workspaces.
As we approach the halfway point of our workspace journey, we wanted to look at where we are and where we’re headed. This has been a journey mapped not by floor plans, but plans for where we want to go as a business and how to support the talented team that will take us there. And it’s not over yet.
Where we were
Even with the amount of time most of us spend at work, if all runs smoothly, we likely don’t give the building much thought. That’s because behind the scenes, there is a team dedicated to making sure every office building makes business sense.
During the summer of 2015, before we were even close to breaking ground, our Real Estate & Facilities team and partners throughout the company looked at what we had to work with and our company goals. There was the gap to contend with, and space within the existing Arden Hills building was becoming increasingly limited.
We knew we needed an updated workspace that could help us better support our customers and member-owners. The space should help us work better together, so we can continue to come up with new ideas and solutions. Added amenities and a welcoming, mix-and-match to your work style space would also help ensure our talented folks stayed with us.
When the decision was made to move everyone at headquarters to Arden Hills, we kept both the present and future in mind. The new space would have to flex not only for a varying number of people each day but also a wide variety of work. And spaces would have to continue to evolve over time, allowing for new configurations as business needs emerged.
Where we are
Today, most of our workspaces look like your traditional, some might say dated, cubicles. With their high walls, the cubes are private and cozy. But they don’t match the work style we’re aiming for. For one, cubes aren’t always conducive to collaboration, and secluded comfort rarely fosters innovation.
The first workspace change came when a small but brave group broke out and away from their cubes—literally. In late October 2016, about 160 employees moved into a newly-renovated pilot space on the fourth floor of our Arden Hills building.
It’s a pretty cool space. There are still traditional workstations, but they are largely unassigned. People can come and go as they please, picking the work space that works best for them. The floor plan is bright and open, with natural light streaming in for the south-facing windows. Hallways and meeting rooms are filled with whiteboard walls to capture ideas in the moment instead of waiting for formal meeting minutes. A large harvest table greets visitors as they walk up, and modern décor throughout keeps things stylish yet practical.
Where we’re headed
Our journey’s end date of 2018 may be set, but that doesn’t mean we won’t continue learning as we go. Before we roll out the final designs across Arden Hills, the pilot group will see what does and doesn’t work and report back. We’ll learn more and adjust as we go.
The adjustment is important, because we know we’re not all the same. We’re a diverse team with diverse needs to match, and our workspace should reflect this.
That’s why our new space includes private rooms for those that flourish with peace and quiet, as well as a variety of tables, couches and other shared spaces for those that enjoy the company of others while they work. Teams can quickly come together around a table to solve problems fast and capture ideas in the moment without having to schedule a meeting room and wait until next Tuesday.
Work today is unpredictable and fluid. The pace is fast. At Land O’Lakes, we want that pace to be energizing and exciting, not exhausting. Done right, a well-designed workspace does more than create comfortable spaces for people to work—it boosts the business.
As ours comes together, we hope you’ll stop by for a visit. The gap officially closes in 2018.