How 5 D.C. Organizations Used Their Workplace To Showcase Their Values
A decade ago, clients could enter and exit an office learning nothing of the company’s core values, ambitions or brand story. Today, the workplace landscape has changed: More and more companies are working to convey who they are through elements of their office, using their space as a recruiting tool and to showcase the work they do.
As unemployment rates continue to hover near historic lows, companies are getting creative as they compete to attract the best employees. Competition is especially fierce in D.C. and its surrounding areas, talent-rich innovation hubs that JLL Research shows boast a large concentration of working-age adults, an abundance of high-tech industry employment and the nation’s highest education levels.
Explore the brands below to see how they were able to reimagine their office spaces and tailor them to meet their company’s distinctive needs, work style, brand and the values prized by its leadership and the company as a whole.
National Geographic: For over 130 years, the National Geographic Society has transformed the way people understand the world through science, exploration, education and storytelling. In an effort to encourage collaboration between thought leaders, field experts and other notable guests, its recently renovated space at 16th and M streets NW in D.C.’s Golden Triangle district includes a semi-private conference hall smaller than its 450-person auditorium.
Dubbed the “Machu Picchu steps,” the tiered, intimate auditorium resembles the Peruvian world wonder and provides an ideal backdrop for content creators and staff to exchange ideas.
National Geographic Society wanted its D.C. headquarters to reflect an atmosphere devoted to environmental and humanitarian advocacy. Walls are adorned with artifacts and photos from around the globe, while office pods and communal areas showcase backsplashes reminiscent of a mountain range in the distance. A planetarium-esque night sky hovers above the open atrium.
“National Geographic is renowned for incredible humanitarian work all over the globe, but their workplace had a disconnect," JLL Vice President of Project and Development Services Cheryl Russ said. "We created a truly unique campus for them and, in a booming economy, a workplace reflecting positivity and strong values can make all the difference when top talent decides where they want to go."
Unanet: A Loudoun County fixture, Unanet unveiled a web-based time sheet management product to the market in 1998. Today, the company is a hands-on and instructional resource for cloud-based software solutions. Its 22K SF office features a large, open café, which serves as the perfect setting for Unanet Uncorked, a regular event combining a happy hour with one-on-one meetings.
“It is crucial to reinforce your brand through elements of the workplace," JLL Senior Vice President Chuck LaRock said. "Unanet’s new space is branded with the company’s core values throughout so the employees and guests know exactly what the company stands for.”
The company frequently hosts “Unanet University” classes at the office, so the café was designed with a movable wall. When opened, the flexible space transforms into a classroom ideal for interactive and informative training sessions. Unanet embraces “servant leadership,” a concept designed to empower each employee, regardless of title or tenure, with the power to lead. With inspirational quotes lining the office and conference room walls, it is easy to recognize Unanet’s philosophy of collectivity.
“This office has done incredible things for our team,” Unanet CEO Chris Craig said. “It has strengthened our supportive and collaborative culture by giving us the ideal space to work with each other and with our clients. We love welcoming guests to the space. It is truly our home and is exactly what we need to take us to the next level."
RCFP: The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press advocates for First Amendment rights by providing pro bono legal counsel and vital resources to leading news outlets, reporters, editors and more.
Its new 7K SF consolidated office is a welcoming and modern space, emphasizing the organization’s collaborative style while balancing the privacy demands of legal work with both individual offices and shared spaces throughout.
“We always say ‘one size fits one,’” said JLL’s Taylor Manning, who represented RCFP. “With nonprofits, it’s about promoting the mission and supporting the ways they work while being cognizant of cost and efficiencies.”
Winchester Homes: People who travel around the Mid-Atlantic are bound to encounter one of the luxury home communities developed, designed and built by Winchester Homes. When it was time for an office upgrade for its headquarters, Winchester’s leadership pulled out all the stops.
The new space incorporates a 6K SF design center, outfitted with every fixture customers might select for their new home. Usually housed off-site, placing this showroom within the workspace makes it abundantly clear what Winchester Homes is all about.
“The HVAC system posed a challenge since Winchester needed it on during nights and weekends so they could cater to their working clients, the typical time they shut off," JLL Vice President of Project and Development Services Justin Gore said. "We thought outside the box on this one and ultimately resolved it by negotiating a supplemental HVAC system to support the design studio.”
Bell: Bell’s 22K SF office space in Crystal City captures the culture and mission of the aerospace technology company. Its D.C. workspace boasts a large theater, a V-280 Valor aircraft simulator and an interactive mission board for guests to engage in various missions on the aircraft as well as several virtual reality scenarios.
These cutting-edge features are meant to give prospective clients a hands-on experience of Bell’s formidable capabilities. Military clients, policymakers and media engage with this display of Bell’s innovation and collaboration within the office, showcasing the work that could drive the next generation of transportation.
“A transformative company needs a workplace to match it, otherwise a client or a potential employee will enter the space and may question their mission and success," JLL Senior Vice President Greg Martinez said. "Most projects of this scale would have taken anywhere from 12-24 months, but we completed this work in less than eight. Now it embodies the look of a modern and pioneering organization.”
This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and JLL Mid-Atlantic. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.