Why the Open Floor Plan?

Organizations around the world focus on innovation and collaboration at work.

CSL Behring employees at work in the biotechnology leader's leading-edge 500 N. Gulph Road building in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
CSL Behring employees at work at the biotechnology leader's new office building in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. The plants visible on the left are an example of biophilic design, a feature of the collaborative work environment.

The evolution of the workplace is ever-changing as companies continue to seek ways to maximize both productivity and employee happiness. 

For biotechnology leader CSL Behring, this mission is also in line with the company’s values, explains Cameron Barrett, Senior Vice President, Global Supply Chain Management.

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“Innovation and collaboration are two of our values and important parts of our culture,” he said. “Our company is growing rapidly and we are investing in processes, people, plants and workspaces.”

Barrett said that leaders at the company are taking a balanced view on this investing, creating spaces that are both invigorating while making sure resources are used efficiently.

CSL Behring employees at work in the biotechnology leader's leading-edge 500 N. Gulph Road building in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
Standing desks are a key feature of the collaborative work environment at CSL Behring's new King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, office building.

New buildings being constructed around the world by CSL Behring are incorporating a more open plan, with a focus on natural light and employee well-being. Different areas throughout the buildings allow employees to choose whether they want a quiet workspace or an environment that encourages more collaboration.

“If people are collaborating, happy and healthy, then they have the energy needed to innovate and work to support patients,” Barrett said. “We are a hardworking company driven by our promise to patients, and these work environments help us remain strong and connected on that journey.”

More specifically, these offices, including one recently completed in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and other locations in Kankakee, Illinois; Marburg, Germany; Bern, Switzerland, and Tokyo, Japan, feature elements such as floor-to-ceiling windows, a variety of communal spaces, and biophilic design, which focuses on bringing nature indoors with the use of plant walls and natural wood.
Karen Palecko-Bates, Principal at Meyer Design, the architect who helped develop CSL Behring’s new space in King of Prussia, said that buildings such as these are part of a growing architectural trend. “The world is evolving. There is so much choice these days and the evolution of the work environment is following suit with addressing the more human aspects of the workplace,” she said. “It’s all about creating an experience, just like you would in retail. It’s about personalizing the workplace more toward the organization or the department that sits in the space, getting input from employees, and designing the space with those employees in mind.”

CSL Behring employee cafeteria in the biotechnology leader's leading-edge 500 N. Gulph Road building in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

Employee cafeteria at CSL Behring's new office building in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

A word that Palecko-Bates likes to use when talking about these types of work environments is “bespoke,” noting that there is no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to an office.  

For Barrett, what’s also important is how employees feel about working in the space once they are on board. “When people feel like they have ownership in the place they work, and they consider the space to be shared, it enhances collaboration,” he said. “This in itself brings people closer together.”

Earlier this week, CSL Behring was named one of America’s Best Employers 2019 by the leading business publication Forbes magazine.  Additionally, the company was named one of Forbes top 50 employers in the world for 2017.

The global biotechnology leader has also received recognition for its workplace Diversity and Inclusion. Thomson Reuters recognized CSL as one of the top 100 companies in its 2018 global Diversity and Inclusion Index and, in early-2019, the company was named one of the Best Employers for Diversity in the United States by Forbes.