Creating A Better Workspace For Better Business At Toyota
When Toyota decided to update its Customer Service Center East in Baltimore, Maryland, it took a novel approach. It asked the people working there: What will help you do your business better?
About 500 team members work at the 12-year-old facility providing loan and financial services to the car manufacturer’s thousands of customers. Toyota occupies all five floors of the building. The renovation involved 90,000 square feet and took three months.
Strategy sessions with associates began a year before construction started in September 2014. “We’d never done this type of planning exercise before,” said Bridget Sweeney, LEED AP ID+C, workplace strategy and design manager, Toyota. “We held a big visioning session and asked our associates what they needed.
“Associates said the center was drab, dated and boring. We really wanted to modernize and energize the space, incorporate branding and encourage coaching and mentoring.”
Toyota wondered how it could breathe new energy into the space on a limited budget. It could not afford new furniture. So the company focused on upgrading finishes, renovating the break room, converting storage rooms into coaching rooms or small huddle rooms and replacing the flooring.
“Flooring played a huge role in our plan,” Sweeney said. “This is a great story on how you can transform a space. The new carpet makes our existing furniture look so much better.”
Three patterns from the Denim Collection were used: the boldly striped Selvage in the main walkways, the toned down yet distinctive Hem in the work areas and the interestingly monochromatic Jean in the private offices and meeting rooms. Select Step was used in the revitalized break room. Toyota sought to create an open, warm and comfortable facility that encouraged collaboration and still highlighted the Toyota brand.
“One of things we heard was that the décor felt corporate, conservative and not like a Fortune 500 leading auto company,” Sweeney said. “We used large-scale wall graphics—words and photos of people in cars—to connect our team members to the brand and give the space a whole new atmosphere. We really believe at Toyota that these changes will have a positive impact on our team members and the customers they serve.”