Striking a balance: NAMIC Headquarters Reflects Thoughtful Approach
A trade association for property/casualty insurance firms, the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) needed to update its Indianapolis headquarters. NAMIC engaged OfficeWorks to help them meet their objectives.
“Our space hadn’t been significantly updated since 1992,” said Chuck Chamness, president and chief executive officer, NAMIC. “The way we work and the services we provide have evolved over the past 20-plus years, so we wanted our office to reflect and support that.”
Introducing color, enhancing collaboration
“In terms of our goals, two words come to mind: color and collaboration,” said Stephen Ott, assistant vice president – building & technology, NAMIC. “Our building has a lot of windows, but our old space was filled with grey, six-feet-tall walls. Our staff wanted to introduce color and open up their environment to bring in more natural light and enhance collaboration, striking a balance between openness and privacy.”
“NAMIC represents a well-established industry, yet there’s a lot of energy and new thinking about how we serve our members, so it was important to balance those characteristics, as well,” Chuck added.
In addition to updated workstations and a fresh look and feel, NAMIC needed new spaces to accommodate various functions, including a room specifically designed for webinar and podcast production.
“In the COVID era, we’ve been doing a lot of virtual learning, but even prior to that, we recognized the need for a dedicated room with special furniture, lighting and soundproofing,” Chuck said.
Visualizing the future
Based on a thorough understanding of NAMIC’s goals, OfficeWorks presented ideas using Configura’s CET Designer technology, which helped NAMIC staff visualize how the space would look and function.
“OfficeWorks listened to us and responded with ideas that matched what we had talked about,” Stephen said. “I loved their presentation, and the drawings were extremely helpful—it was easy to make changes quickly. I trusted OfficeWorks’ recommendations and appreciated their flexibility and constant communication.”
“Our design technology allowed us to incorporate NAMIC’s changes in real-time,” said David Blount, account executive, OfficeWorks. “It also helped their staff get excited about their future space.”
The resulting office includes several features customized for the staff members, from workstations that reflect how departments want to operate to design elements that accommodate a wide range of end users with various needs.
“The fact that OfficeWorks showed so much interest in creating an inclusive space for all made us feel confident about the company,” said Stephen.
Although the project was designed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, NAMIC’s new office enhances physical distancing, featuring glass walls as well as spacious workstations with panel heights that allow for both separation and visibility. To help NAMIC prepare for their eventual return to the office, OfficeWorks provided the organization with additional ideas to enhance distancing.
“We included certain features for aesthetics and privacy, but now they’re serving another purpose,” Stephen said. “We’ve been working from home for the most part but look forward to when we can use our new space again.”
Positive relationships, positive results
One of the spaces the NAMIC team is particularly excited about returning to is the breakroom.
“Everyone loves the breakroom,” Stephen said. “Before, it had an industrial feel, and wasn’t inviting. In the new space, we’ve seen people from different departments—people who might have never spoken before—coming together to socialize.”
To minimize disruptions to operations, the installation was phased, with later phases occurring in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The installation went flawlessly,” Chuck said. “OfficeWorks kept construction going during extraordinary circumstances, delivering on their promise to create a finished product that we’re very happy with. Our modern, functional work environment will be a great benefit to our staff and member companies moving forward.”
“We appreciated that the NAMIC team had trust in us and was receptive to our suggestions,” said Rhonda Sylvester, account executive, OfficeWorks. “That positive relationship helped us work together for a successful outcome.”