More Than a Place to Hang Your Hat


Our firm has toured many, many offices over the years. One of the first things we assess when we walk through the door is the overall environment. Does it foster employee satisfaction and productivity? Is there ample natural light? Are the acoustics good? Is the design modern and welcoming? These are some of our top concerns.

However, that’s only the foundation. A happy, positive workplace is more than just a beautiful, light-filled space, though that is a great start; there needs to be a culture in place that nurtures it. Statistics are out there to support our focus. In fact, a recent Jobvite survey of 1,855 recruiters and HR professionals noted that the top thing recruiters do to attract employees—a whopping 73 percent—is highlight the company culture, followed by touting better benefits (51 percent).

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Just as we educate clients about how to design a better office, we also learn plenty from them about what it takes to make that space a wonderful place to work. When we see great ideas, we take them back with us and implement them in-house. For instance, we recently created an unlimited snack bar, stocked with a blend of healthy and indulgent treats to help get through the workday. The idea was inspired by what we saw at several of the media and technology companies we work with. Similarly, many years ago, we were at Brookfield Properties’ offices and loved the branded mints they had placed in urns for both workers and visitors to enjoy. We now provide them to our architects and pass them out at meetings and presentations. It’s these little touches that make a big difference.

One of the other things we do to foster company culture is our signature “Bagel Mondays,” where employees bond over a bagel and schmear before starting the work week.

We also provide breakfast on Fridays; host impromptu happy hours; coordinate company-wide potlucks; and hold an in-office Thanksgiving feast. However, it’s not just about food and drink. We also have promotional ventures to foster team spirit and share with our clients, such as T-shirts, umbrellas and even branded micro cleaning pads for mobile devices. (Tremor Video turned us on to the pads!) Want to work for us yet?

Sometimes the ways we show appreciation are less tangible. It can be as simple as leaving the World Cup games on in the conference room (something we did in 2014) so that our resident soccer fans could catch a glimpse in between projects or take in the game at lunchtime. We also highlight the Spector spirit on our social media accounts so that others can see what we’re doing in the office—and what a great time we’re having while we do it. It’s those kinds of gestures that foster a warm company culture and build camaraderie.

As we start planning celebrations for our 50th anniversary, including get-togethers and group charitable initiatives throughout 2015, you can be sure they will be centered around our people. After all, they are the ones that have helped our company get to where it is today and the ones who will help us, literally, build a better tomorrow. For that, we are most appreciative.

Scott E. Spector, AIA, is a principal at Spector Group, one of New York’s premier architecture and interior design firms and a leader in corporate tenant and building owner-based design. The award-winning company has affiliate offices nationally and internationally. To date, it has completed more than 2,000 projects.