Employee- and family-friendly office designs help attract talent for fast-growing bank

June 23, 2020

This paid piece is sponsored by Interstate Office Products.

One is a family-friendly bank branch with a sweet addition.

The other is an office space that employees enjoy so much they bring friends and family to see it.

They’re both part of the same fast-growing organization that has continued to build space and add staff this year, with offices that support their goals.

At the newest Plains Commerce Bank location on the northeast corner of 57th Street and Sycamore Avenue, families are encouraged to visit together, and the layout supports that idea.

The bank shares a building with Flyboy Donuts, and a shared lobby is meant for customers of both.

“We want to create a family-friendly environment and a coffee shop experience in the lobby,” executive vice president Jason Appel said. “It’s a modern look but with comfortable seating, so people can come sit down for an hour and have a conversation.”

Furniture from Interstate Office Products helped create the environment.

“With families coming in, they wanted to make sure the seating would accommodate children without being specifically children’s furniture,” IOP designer Teena Hogan said.

“So we did a love seat where parents can sit next to children, and we put a variety of tables and chairs in, so if people want to bring in a doughnut, they easily can sit down and do that – and, of course, we paid attention to the fabrics knowing food will be in the space.”

The bank plans to add games for kids and technology that will help teach them about banking and money.

“We’ve worked with Plains Commerce on a lot of projects, so the bank itself has a similar look and feel to its other locations, but we switched a few things up to give it a little different feel because it is unique with Flyboy in there,” Hogan said.

“It really helps that we’ve built a relationship. You can build off what you’ve done before, modify based on their needs for a new space, and it definitely improves design efficiency.”

Efficiency was key, especially when COVID-19 hit and disrupted supply chains industrywide. IOP helped Plains Commerce keep its order moving by documenting the bank was an essential business. The pandemic still caused a slight delay but only by about 30 days.

“The world changed a lot from the time we placed our furniture order until when it arrived on scene,” Appel said. “IOP did a great job communicating with us and advocating for us to make sure we stayed at the front of the line and ultimately came through for us once again.”

The new location is the bank’s third location in Sioux Falls and 10th overall.

“I’m so excited to see it in its completed form. It’s spectacular. It finished up beyond my expectations,” Appel said.

“We have a great team, and I’m excited about what they can do by getting active in the neighborhood.”

At the same time Plains Commerce was working on its newest location with IOP, a division of the bank – Windsor Mortgage Solutions – was building fast with design and furniture support too.

The mortgage business line moved into a new office at 4410 S. Technology Drive when it launched about a year ago.

It’s a modern space, designed for employees’ engagement and comfort, with height-adjustable and traditional desks, a generously sized restaurant-style kitchen used for breaks and team huddles, and lots of technology-filled common spaces.

“We’ve had a lot of tours,” said Chris Vinson, executive vice president of mortgage. “They want to show where they work. They’re very proud of the space. They’re proud of the environment and proud of where they work.”

Windsor Mortgage is growing fast – so fast, that the office is already out of space.

And when leaders found a second space nearby, there was a temptation to make the furnishings a little more humble.

“We talked about it because it is an investment to purchase furniture, and we decided it was important to continue the look and feel we had started. Even though we’re in a rental space, the furniture ultimately can come with us,” Vinson said.

“When we bring in a new employee and they walk through, they think about how they would like to work here. We didn’t even think about that in the beginning, but we started to notice it through compliments and through employees who fought really hard to be able to come work here.”

Windsor provides a full-service back-end operation for community banks to offer mortgage services. It also acts as a correspondent lender for bigger banks, buying their mortgages and serving as the end investor.

The team has grown to more than 150 between Plains Commerce and Windsor, “and we’ve been blessed with really good people,” Vinson said. “Whether it’s an amazing concept or not, it wouldn’t work without them.”

To support the employees and attract more, Vinson worked with Interstate Office Products on both its original Windsor office and to plan the expansion while managing growth in the current space.

“Our space is really working well, but we’re trying to max it out, and we’ve been able to use our furniture and move things around and put a piece here and there, and that’s been really helpful,” Vinson said. “Their design department worked with us to figure out how to make it work.”

To support the company’s robust growth, it was key to work efficiently to design and furnish the new space.

Hogan and Abby Tufvesson, another IOP interior designer, quickly mobilized to respond.

“It was very quick,” Hogan said. “We met at the space to measure it up and get it all drawn and designed, and I think it ended up being three weeks from when we first met to when we ordered furniture.”

Because IOP and Windsor had worked strategically and intentionally through the original office, scaling up became easier.

“We’re replicating the original space and optimizing both spaces to accommodate as many people as possible because they’re growing so fast,” Hogan said.

Windsor also was able to draw on lessons learned from living in its original space.

“They learned everyone likes and uses the height-adjustable desks, so they realized it was worth the additional investment,” Hogan said.

“So all the workstations are now height-adjustable.”

Because the business works with banks across a broad geography, its videoconferencing capabilities also have been used a lot, Vinson said.

“It’s more and more popular and just saves a lot on travel,” he said. “And we’ve used our major boardroom probably the most. We do a lot of conferencing in there, and the video allows you to understand the clients’ body language and have a team approach, so we all understand their needs, and they can get to know us.”

The new space includes a conference area, offices and more open workstations.

“It’s important to create the type of cubicle where you would want to work,” Vinson said. “Ours have openness but privacy, so you’re not hearing telephone noise, and it’s a great, workable space. And we’re eliminating even more cabinets than when we started because paper really is going away.”

The new space can and already has accommodated growth, he added. In its first weeks in the new space, Windsor already has added more desks than expected.

“You don’t know where the peak is, so you don’t want a bunch of hodgepodge furniture that doesn’t really match, and we don’t know exactly how much square footage we need. So we can move things, and we really like the product because it gives us flexibility. It matches, it matches our colors, it’s not too fancy,” he said.

The relationship with Interstate Office Products likely will continue to grow with the business, Vinson said.

“We want good-quality items at a quality price, and it works. And when we have a problem, we have someone local to call,” he said.

“It’s ultimately important because when you decide to do something, like anyone, you want it done quickly. And although we try to be proactive, sometimes you have to react. They’ve been able to do that and just have been a very good partner.”

To learn more about how Interstate Office Products can meet your office needs, visit i-o-p.com or call 605-339-0300.

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Employee- and family-friendly office designs help attract talent for fast-growing bank

One is a family-friendly bank branch. The other is a fast-growing office employees love. They both drew on past positive experiences in designing their newest locations.

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