- Skanska USA's new 17,000-square-foot Portland, Oregon, office is an example of how post-pandemic workplace design can help protect the health of employees but still retain the features that make working together in the right location a big draw.
- The company spent almost $6.4 million renovating the top two floors of an historic warehouse in the city's Pearl District, complete with rooftop deck. The renovation was in progress when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and Skanska was able to make changes in the interest of health and safety, such as a layout that ensures 100% social distancing. The space also includes easy-to-sanitize surfaces, an open design with half-dividers and individual desks, conference rooms with clear plastic barriers between attendees, and an HVAC system equipped with ionization capabilities and MERV 13 filters.
- Skanska started construction on the space in fall 2019 and completed the work in April 2020. The space is designed for 80 people, with 67 dedicated workstations and 11 flexible ones, according to Joe Schneider, Skanska USA senior vice president, but he added only 10 to 15 people are working there daily.
Other design features of the Portland office include:
- A full bike room in the basement.
- An open staircase connecting the two floors of offices.
- Large windows and a skylight to bring in natural light.
- The Hub Collaboration Space, which offers the opportunity for open standup or sitting meetings and includes standing desks and large monitors.
The new office, Schneider said, is surrounded by restaurants, art galleries, brewpubs, shops and parks, and that, in addition to the vintage elements of the building, is why Skanska chose the location.
"It's just a great part of town, and you have a lot of options," he said.
The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but that did not limit the interior renovations, Schneider said.
Another company that recently finished building out new office space is McCarthy Holdings, which includes McCarthy Building Cos. The St. Louis-based company left its headquarters of 50 years and relocated to the second and third floors of a building originally constructed for AT&T.
With the new headquarters comes an additional 30,000 square feet, a central staircase connecting its two floors; conference and training facilities; flex space for easy collaboration; amenities such as a fitness center and cafe; and state-of-the-art technology that will allow clients and project teams to experience an immersive view of projects, McCarthy said.
Like Skanska, MCarthy also included features focused on keeping employees safe during the pandemic. They include:
- An upgraded HVAC system with MERV 13 filters and an air treatment system with the capability to neutralize bacteria, viruses, mold and volatile organic compounds.
- A workspace design to maximize social distancing.
- Plexiglass divider screens and tall panels between workstations.
- Materials and surfaces that can be easily cleaned and disinfected.