PROOF OF THE PUDDING
Our Employee Surveys, taken before and after the project, delivered these results.
Great job – a game changer for us as an organisation
Connecticut-based toy company, Melissa & Doug (yes, they’re real people; in fact, they’re a real couple) have been creating innovative, award and accolade-winning toys since 1988. Having six children, toys are a subject the couple know quite a bit about and they’ve come a long way since turning their initial ideas into toys in basements and parental garages.
Melissa & Doug’s first products were wooden puzzles, a portfolio which rapidly grew to include arts & crafts, pretend and push play and many other toy lines besides, with wood remaining the dominant material. Today the company offers more than 5,000 products, putting them in the same league as toy titans like Mattel and LEGO, and employs over a thousand people worldwide. Their first exports were to the UK.
Having far outgrown their existing Regus office, the company’s team was looking to open up their own and first UK headquarters. They wanted a facility that offered client meet and greet space, plenty of room to grow in line with their plans to rapidly expand and the chance for everyone to work closer with the company’s products, to immerse themselves fully in the M&D brand.
As usual, we undertook our anonymous employee satisfaction survey to thoroughly understand what each team member wanted from their new office and which elements of our redesign would be most important to them.
As Trinity Court had recently been CAT A refurbished to a high standard, it gave us an ideal blank canvas to work with. What’s more, it’s located in a unique position – on an island within a river, offering a beautiful setting with narrow boats, wildlife and greenery aplenty.
As a toy company with such a bright and colourful product portfolio and brand, this was always going to be a fun project for us to work on. The key was making sure that the office design was on brand but still very much an adult workspace.
We worked hard to get under the skin of the M&D brand, ethos and mission and instilled that into the design. We wanted to create a space that was welcoming, friendly and inspiring with an element of curiosity – much like the way M&D design their toys to inspire children all over the world.
Right from the office’s entrance, we wanted to clearly set the scene. As the brand has such a strong culture, we used a quote from Melissa herself as the first thing people see when they enter, along with fairground lights – instantly welcoming and drawing staff and visitors alike in to the brand’s messaging and playful design elements.
The tea point has been designed to be a flexible and hard-working space, doubling up as the hub for the team to socialise, meet and eat together, as well as providing an open reception area where visitors feel part of the family. To achieve this, the existing tea point was heavily modified, making it more practical but also including fun elements, such as the wall lights and yellow tile grout which added to the playful element but in a subtle way.
The office lies behind a life-size version of the company’s famous red barn (one of the their best-sellers), linking the team with the product in a fun, interactive way. Creative storage and display takes centre stage; from here products can be showcased and different lines launched. Playful elements continue into the office with window boxes and plant archways. With many of the M&D toys being wooden, it was important that this was also represented in the interior scheme. So timber edges on the desks and oak effect shelving were added, both helping to ground the brightly coloured scheme.
In the video-conference (VC) room, instead of a large corporate logo taking up the background wall, we used giraffe print to represent the company’s other best selling product – their soft toy giraffe. In this way, their office was instantly and playfully recognisable during conference calls with their American colleagues.
Although the whole project was undertaken in an empty site, M&D’s Regus lease was rapidly coming to an end so we were under time pressure to ensure their new home was ready for them to move into, particularly before the London Toy Fair – one of the calendar’s biggest events for this industry.
The final design was kept completely secret so there was a big reveal at the end of the project, when everyone saw their new office for the first time. Due to our in-depth brief taking process, we had already met many of the UK team and were delighted to attend the new office’s launch event to meet the rest.
Melissa & Doug’s new UK office was as fun and inspiring for us to design and build as it looks. More importantly, an astonishing 100% of the company’s employees now find the environment a productive and motivational place to work.
And after all the workspace changes were implemented, their eNPS (Employee Net Promoter Score) has risen 95% points – an outstanding and positive impact that will benefit the business and its people significantly.
As the client said, ‘Great job – a game changer for us as an organisation.’