The S/L/A/M Collaborative (SLAM) and The Hartford, one of the nation’s largest insurance and financial services companies presented “The Blueprint for Corporate Sustainability” at the CoreNet Global North American Summit. The summit is considered the largest gathering of corporate real estate and workplace executives in the world attended by over 7,000 individuals from over 2,500 global companies.
Terri Frink, IIDA, Principal and SLAM’s Interior Architecture Studio Leader and Monika Avery, IIDA, LEED AP, SLAM Associate Principal, presented with Stephanie Fulbright, Vice President of Real Estate & Security and Jahn Marie Surette, Senior Vice President & Chief Procurement Officer of The Hartford on their recently achieved vision to consolidate corporate real estate and redefine the company’s work environment through the establishment of new work standards and environmental branding. The project, named “CT on the Move” spans over 700,000 square feet of renovated space and consolidated approximately 7,500 employees across three campuses into two, in Windsor and downtown Hartford. The presentation highlighted the ways in which this consolidation effort provided The Hartford with a more sustainable workplace model—both operationally and environmentally—by reducing their carbon footprint, financial obligations, and their overall corporate real estate footprint. Additionally, it highlighted the impact that workplace design can have on improving flexibility, visibility, corporate branding and identity, sustainability, employee wellness, operational efficiency, and collaboration.
The shift to downtown Hartford allowed employees to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle by providing easy access to public transportation as well as residential units, restaurants, parks, bike paths, schools, and night life in the central business district all within walking distance. The Hartford also invested in various wellness aspects within their workplace design including convenient access to water and nutritious meal choices; adjustable desk settings supporting ergonomic preferences; abundant natural daylight and views; and a variety of spaces allowing employees to choose where and how they want to work.
The Hartford redefined the ways in which space is allocated within their workplace, resulting in fewer private offices and less dedicated individual space, while maximizing collaborative space. The presentation also discussed the ways in which right-sizing provided flexibility for changing business unit needs as the company progresses forward. At the onset of this consolidation and robust change management and rebranding program, The Hartford conducted visioning sessions in addition to a company-wide survey and asked employees to define their most important workplace needs and desires. Access to natural light was named as one of the top needs along with ergonomic workspace and acoustics management respectively.
The Hartford delivered a strong change management program which resulted in a 97 percent employee satisfaction rate and found an increase in engagement, productivity, employee wellness, and retention. From an environmental standpoint, The Hartford diverted 581 tons from landfills; saved 5.7 mm gallons of water; and reduced their overall carbon footprint by 16 percent. The Hartford was subsequently recognized as one of Connecticut’s Top Companies rated by the Carbon Disclosure Project and was recognized by the United States Secretary of Energy for achieving a 21 percent energy consumption reduction in two years – three years ahead of the goal set by the U.S. Department of Energy Better Building Challenge.