The Work Design Now Treatment: GSK (VIDEO)

The grand stair in GSK's atrium. Photo by Francis Dzikowski for Robert A.M. Stern Architects, LLP.
The grand stair in GSK’s atrium. Photo by Francis Dzikowski for Robert A.M. Stern Architects, LLP.

This is the second in a series of three summaries to showcase the winners of the Work Design Now 2013 competition, sponsored by the wonderful folks at Haworth. Whet your palette with this recap and video, then pour yourself a cuppa and dig in to 25+ pages of images, floor plans, and inside scoop in the full case study. If you like what you see, submit your latest project for consideration to receive the same treatment in this year’s competition. Click here for everything you’ll need to know about submitting your project for Work Design Now 2014.

Case study:

Click here to read the full GlaxoSmithKline case study: SMART Design: A Business Transformation Program Promoting Communication and Collaboration

The case study is chock full of images, floor plans, and interviews with GSK employees, a Haworth workplace strategist, our very own Bob Fox, and the design team from Francis Cauffman.



In February 2013, GSK consolidated 800,000 square feet into 208,000 while implementing its SMART Working Initiative, which:

1.  Eliminated hierarchical barriers by removing individual offices and cubicles. All 1,300 employees now share workstations, meeting spaces, quiet rooms, and social areas on open floor plates.

2.  Engaged employees in a change management strategy that anticipated and respected their emotions. By creating research prototypes and a pilot program, employees more comfortably transitioned from older office buildings to the new work environment.

3.  Created “energy for performance” spaces, including a fitness center, rooftop garden, ergonomic benching, and a cafeteria full of fresh and healthy meal options. The staff has access to natural light and a full spectrum of color – pulled from GSK’s branding palette – invigorates the space. With these amenities, GSK increased the number of employees working on site.

4. Fostered serendipitous collisions in an open-space floor plan designed to speed up decision-making, reduce email and formal meetings, and enhance collaboration and trust.

5. Decreased square footage with the optimized and increased utilization of meeting and work spaces.

6. Decreased water, energy, and paper usagewith energy-saving fixtures including a heat-recovery system, efficient lighting, whole-building metering, and a building management system, all as part of their commitment to a sustainable future.

Since moving into its new office, GSK has reduced energy and water costs and cut paper usage by 90 percent. According to one executive, email use dropped by 35 percent because the new space allows staff to simply “turn and talk,” thereby promoting collaboration, encouraging peak performance, and ultimately enabling GSK to better serve its customers and patients.

Take the tour:

We’re re-publishing this now to show off what you could win when you to submit your latest project for this year’s competition. The top three submissions will get this same treatment: We’ll travel to your city, film on location, interview the key people involved, and write up a case study — just like this one, above, for GSK. And even if you don’t make the top three, you might still get a trophy: Exceptional projects like this one about a historic restoration project in Milwaukee, submitted last year by Zimmermann Architectural Studios, will be covered in a short article here on the site.

So what do you have to lose? Submit your latest project for Work Design Now 2014 today!

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