Success Stories: Return to Work

Thriving Through COVID

As part of Catapult’s members-only Thinking Differently series, Bob Schanz, president of Storr Office, will join a panel of business leaders on March 9th to discuss how his company found opportunity rather than challenge as it operated through the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The status quo work experience of 2020—where most office employees worked from home—reflected significant business costs in terms of lost productivity, engagement, and innovation. People want and expect to go back to the office, but they want a space that is safe, comfortable, and productive. Because the workplace supports innovation, engagement, collaboration, socialization, and learning, it will continue to be a crucial part of many organizations.

Late last year, Storr was awarded the CoreNet Real Estate CORE AWARD for developing and implementing the “Most Innovative Return-To-Office Plan Across the Carolinas”. Health, safety, and well-being were top of mind and drove responsible planning, clear communication, and team-member engagement to ensure the safe return of employees to the office. Through CDC research and data-driven insights from its partner Steelcase’s global research, Storr strategically adjusted its existing space using the principles of density, geometry, and division.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Steelcase has conducted ongoing research to help organizations understand the impact of COVID on their business. The Steelcase data includes findings from eight qualitative and quantitative primary research studies. This work was designed to measure the effects of the pandemic on work, workers, and the workplace. The studies were conducted in 10 countries and have included more than 32,000 participants around the world using methodologies based in the social sciences.

Additionally, Storr leveraged Steelcase workplace technology that monitors, quantifies, and optimizes ongoing space performance. The Storr facilities team continually adjusts underutilized areas based on real-time data from cloud-connected workplace sensors.

While technology and protocols like distancing requirements, health screenings, mask requirements, cleaning stations, clear signage, and space dividers were critical, Storr’s safe return is a tribute to its team members. By adapting quickly to the chaotic pandemic environment and honoring the required COVID protocols, the team kept each other safe and ensured a successful return to the office.

Steelcase’s continuing research finds the experience of 2020—where most office employees worked from home—resulted in a 14% reduction in engagement, 12% drop in productivity, and 6% decline in innovation. This moment is an opportunity to reinvent policies, offices, and overall work experience to increase collaboration and innovation and maintain company culture and productivity.

Storr’s goal is to provide the safest space for its teams’ physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being and offer thought leadership for their customers in navigating their return to the office. Storr’s Chief Operating Officer, Becca Hand, said it best: “We created the best ecosystem for team members to do their best work.”

If you are a member, be sure you’re registered for our Thinking Differently series, then tune in to the March 9th webcast to hear Bob Schanz of Storr and other business leaders discuss how they thrived through COVID.