Office Envy: Beehive Strategic Communication
When Beehive Strategic Communication sent employees home in March 2020, CEO Lisa Hannum was weeks away from re-upping the lease on the firm’s office at Bandana Square in St. Paul. “We backed away, took a breath, and decided to give it until 2021,” she says. That time working remotely allowed Hannum and her team of 28 (half full time, half fractional) to think about what they wanted from a workspace going forward and design an office for a hybrid future.
“I believe we need to practice what the data, and employees, are telling us. They want the option to work from anywhere … with a [work]place they’d love to go to,” Hannum says. “We’re really trying to create an environment that is technically superb and functionally inspiring.”
Flipping the old cubicle model, gathering areas take precedent at the new “hive,” as the team refers to it. A café with a large high-top table that can fit a dozen stools around it is the centerpiece. The space is designed with locally produced products like Hennepin Made lighting and Mercury Mosaics tile, the pantry is stocked with healthy snacks, and drinks are on tap to reduce packaging waste. “Our appreciation language is ‘Let us feed you,’” Hannum says. A glass garage door can be raised to combine the café with a large meeting room. The area can accommodate groups of up to 60. Hannum plans to open the office to nonprofits and other groups in need of a meeting space.
A quarter of the $1 million build-out went to technology, Hannum says. The entire office is wired for sound and video to make hybrid meetings seamless.
Three huddle rooms are intended for small meetings, while “focus rooms” are meant for individual use. There’s also a studio for podcasting and photography. Workstations are open to everyone and can be easily moved for sound or light. For those employees who miss having their own desk, Hannum suggests keeping photos in one of the office’s lockers and setting them out while working. In addition to lockers, there’s space for pet paraphernalia. The entire building is dog-friendly.
Hannum says she (and her pup) won’t come in every day; she wants to model the flexibility she’s trying to create for her team. But she does expect to be there at least a few times a week. “It’s inspiring for me.”
“We’re really trying to create an environment that is technically superb and functionally inspiring.”
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—Lisa Hannum, Beehive CEO