By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager
When PwC recently announced they were reaffirming a commitment to the Boston business community with a 15-year lease for 333,000 square feet in a soon to be built building in the Innovation District, more than just a strengthening of a 100-year old history of the company serving clients in the Greater Boston area was to be included in the deal.
The custom designed workplace at Seaport Square where the firm will use 75% of the office space on the 17th floor will also be a testament to evolving technology and business needs. Barry Nearhos, PwC Boston’s Managing Partner, explains the highpoints:
Q: What were the considerations involved in the decision to make the move?
A: PwC has been an active member of the Boston business community for the past 100 years, serving companies throughout the region and forging strong community partnerships. We are committed to a long future in Boston and look forward to continuing this legacy. This move will give us the opportunity to implement our new firm strategy for work environment to better support the way we work today and to further our sustainability efforts. The new building will also provide us with a more visible brand presence in this growing neighborhood which has a lot to offer our people in terms of convenience and amenities.
Q: What are the features that will work with a larger workforce that works smarter in less space?
A: As we look out to the time of the move in late 2015, we expect to add approximately 500 additional employees. Our new model for office design and technology enables us to be more efficient and strategic in our use of the physical space.
Our partners and staff are increasingly more mobile, spending time working directly at client sites and when they are back in the office we want to provide a more open environment to encourage flexibility, teaming and knowledge sharing. For example, partner and director offices will double as team rooms when not in use and the space will include:
Media sharing technologies embedded in collaborative areas – with a touch of a button, staff can project laptop images on large wall-mounted flat-panel screens without having to struggle with projector cables and connectors. If there are multiple presenters, each can project onto the monitor one at a time at the push of a button, thus saving time and encouraging sharing during meetings.
oTouch down desks” for the mobile worker – these desks do not require reservations in order to be used and are first-come, first-served. Wireless internet connectivity keeps staff plugged in. Staff can use this space for any duration of time – whether they fly in for a few minutes or whether they are in the office all day.
oA work-anywhere wireless network environment – staff can sit anywhere in the office and do work, whether it be the interactive cafes, touchdown stations, collaborative areas, or traditional workstations and offices.
Q: What’s special about the Innovation District?
A: In selecting the Innovation District, we studied traffic and commuting options, including access to Logan International Airport, and considered where our people live and where our clients are located. The fast-growing area fit the bill for both our clients and our people.
Q: How will the new space reduce PwC’s carbon footprint?
A:The new office will be submitted for LEED certification at the highest level for both the interior and exterior construction. This is part of PwC’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint across the US firm. PwC is continuously working to reduce our carbon footprint.
In FY07, we set a goal to reduce our carbon footprint by 20% by FY12. In 2011, we met that goal. However, not long after hitting our goal, overall emissions began to rise, primarily due to a growing workforce and increased air travel. We have stepped up our efforts, and in FY12, we adopted a new goal to cut our absolute carbon emissions by an additional 10% by FY16 – totaling a 30% overall reduction from our original FY07 baseline.
In FY12, 44% of our office spaces are in buildings that are LEED certified or have LEED certified interiors.