Built for Innovation

December 14, 2017

Editor’s note: Nearly a year after it opened its doors, our Princeton Pike campus is driving collaboration and innovation among Bristol-Myers Squibb teams thanks to its open floorplan. Here are five ways open workspace has made a difference according to Chris Boerner, Head of International Markets

Chris Boerner, Head of International Markets

Chris Boerner, Head of International Markets

Collaboration and communication are hallmarks of Chris Boerner's leadership style. So when Boerner was asked more than two years ago to help design the open layout for the Princeton Pike office that many of his team members would work in, it was an opportunity to literally remove walls and ensure the space would help drive innovation and results.

He also wanted the space to be a place where employees would come to the office every day inspired to work for patients.

The result?

"It's exceeded our expectations," Boerner says of the central New Jersey space that opened last November. "The intention here, as with the broader company Transformation, was to enable teams to move faster and do their best work to deliver for patients. The new space exemplifies the company Bristol-Myers Squibb is becoming."

With far fewer private offices, an abundance of natural light, multipurpose workspaces and designated lounge areas, the Princeton Pike site feels bold and unexpected compared with more traditional, older office arrangements. The site is home to several teams, including U.S. Commercial, Research & Development, Global Business Operations, Legal, Information Technology and more.

Here are five ways, according to Boerner, that the open design is transforming the way Bristol-Myers Squibb teams work:

1. The five-minute unmeeting

1. The five-minute  unmeeting. 

Research from Harvard Business Review suggests that business performance improves when an office is designed to promote "collisions" between employees or chance encounters and unplanned interactions. Spontaneous face-to-face discussions happen more often in an open space. One change Boerner says he's noticed? "Fewer formal meetings! Now a one-hour prescheduled meeting can be just a FIVE-MINUTE CONVERSATION."

2.	Something for everyone.

2. Something for everyone.

The Bristol-Myers Squibb facility at Princeton Pike isn't just a flat, open room. It's a well-balanced, multilevel office with options to meet the diverse needs of its users. The space boasts lots of open space, but also quieter zones, and other creative, energizing options. "The way people have adapted to the new space has been ABSOLUTELY EXCEPTIONAL," Boerner says. "I thought people would take advantage of huddle rooms, but the quiet room, treadmill workstation, and other innovative spaces have caught on too."

3.	Leader accessibility.

3. Leader accessibility. 

Boerner and the other senior leaders who work at Princeton Pike aren't isolated in an executive wing. They sit out in the open, where they are accessible, can get a better pulse on activities, and build trust. Chris thinks this openness encourages the right kind of behaviors at Bristol-Myers Squibb. "I think it's important that leaders STAY VISIBLE," he says. "There is something about being consistently out there, when things are going well and when they are not going well. The open space promotes accountability, innovation, and speed."

4.	Tighter collaboration.

4. Tighter colaboration.

A strategic layout improves communication and interactions between people within teams and across groups. "Working together is easier, and more enjoyable, with more casual breakout spots," Boerner says. "I've seen STRONGER CONNECTIONS between colleagues in the U.S. businesses and Medical Affairs, in part because these folks are now sitting right next to each other."

5.	Community spirit.

5. Community Spirit.

The physical environment of the Princeton Pike facility contributes to a sense of camaraderie among employees. "People are happy when they come here," Boerner says. "There is AN ENERGY HERE that is special."