If you've seen one floor at Panasonic's new North American headquarters, then you've seen them all.
At least that's the case when it comes to the company's eight working floors inside the 12-story office tower in Newark. With a uniform design of open space and a vast array of workstations, the floors are identical save for the color scheme that is unique to each level.
It's just one element of the 280,000-square-foot building, which the electronics giant has occupied since it opened last summer. The all-glass structure, which was built by SJP Properties and the Matrix Development Group, is the city's first new office tower in 20 years. It is easily one of New Jersey's most high-profile development projects in years.
More importantly, though, it helps address many of the issues Panasonic faced at its former corporate campus in Secaucus, company officials said. Tomo Ohi, director of procurement, real estate and facilities, said the company used to spend $1.4 million annually on construction needed to accommodate personnel changes and department reorganizations.
"Our Secaucus office became a maze," Ohi said, noting that straight hallways and aisles would cease to exist after countless build-outs in the middle of the office floor.
But that problem has been solved in a big way with the use of modular, easily adjustable furniture.
It's the same furniture that is used to create denser workstations aimed at spurring collaboration, another element that was missing from Panasonic's former digs, Ohi said. And there's no shortage of space in Newark for small group work or individual privacy, whether it's the free-floating, recreational seating areas throughout the office or "pantries" on every floor that offer an alternative to the cafeteria.
"This is the way they want to work," Ohi said, noting dual benefits of the new design: cost savings and talent attraction.
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