How to create an office space that reflects your company culture

Vaco free yourself

Kelly May, Sr. Director of Global Marketing and Special Projects, and Liz Schimmer, Marketing Director serving Vaco Nashville, explain the process, initiative, and turning a dream space into reality for both Vaco’s National Headquarters and the local Vaco Nashville team to live.

Upon entering Vaco Nashville’s previous office space, you could feel the energy and sense of family. We lived and breathed our people-first, collaborative culture; it just wasn’t reflected in the design and use of our space. As we continued to grow our team, we physically grew out of our office, creating the opportunity to build a space that would blur the lines between “work” and “home” and allow for an intangible — company culture — to become a completely tangible place for clients, candidates, consultants, and Vaconians to work and play.

An extremely detailed all-employee survey confirmed what the ultimate Vaco Nashville office would look like:

  • Functionally, it would fuel intra-company interaction and collaboration with informal huddle areas and an open, accessible floorplan. State of the art technology would mix with tactical and playful elements to offer efficiency without sacrificing fun.
  • In terms of location, we would stay conveniently centralized in the Greater-Nashville area, a short ride off of the interstate and between the bustle of Nashville and Cool Springs in thriving Maryland Farms.
  • Sustainability and wellness were vital. Functional, easy-access outdoor space was a must-have. Lots of natural light and plants would bring the outside in while we focused on sustainability — like working toward creating very little trash by eliminating single-use products.
  • It had to feel like home. Only a welcoming, inclusive place with plenty of room for hosting and entertaining would do. It had to be a place where the Vaco community — Vaconians, consultants, clients, candidates — felt at home since we really are a family here.

With marching orders in hand, we secured a lease as an anchor tenant in a brand new Highwoods development and partnered with Gresham Smith to bring the vision to reality. Through several workshops and plenty of lively discussion, we watched the home of Vaco being built over the course of the winter.

Wanting to showcase all of the progress being made on the new space, we had a hard hat tour midway through the build, so employees could come check out our new digs. It was a great opportunity to get everyone excited for what was to come and truly feel a part of the process.

Move-in day was a spectacular showing of the Vaco spirit — the excitement and energy was palpable, and we celebrated with a huge morning of festivities — premium coffee carts, biscuit trucks, mimosas and a ribbon-cutting all before 9 AM. At Vaco, who you are is more important than what you do…and the new space allows us the opportunity to live that. Sandra Shugart, Vaco Nashville’s Managing Director and Staffing Practice Leader, art dons an entire wall; employees took to the stage for celebratory karaoke and others helped pour the cocktails at our very own coffee bar and lounge.

We are two months into our tenancy and the Vaco vision has come to life. It is a complete thrill to watch Vaconians from all parts of the business participate in meetings outside by our pond or engage in impromptu celebratory happy hours. Clients happily pose for Instagram posts in front of our moss wall, candidates feel at home in our interview rooms and to-date we’ve saved over 5,000 plastic water bottles using our water dispensers (and the Sonic-type ice isn’t bad either!). Not every office has top-of-the-line technology, Skype rooms, collaboration areas, a bar for happy hours, and a pond with ducks and turtles, and we’re so grateful that it’s ours.

Click here to watch Vaconians first day in their new space.


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
Subscribe now

Together, let’s take a professional adventure bigger than we ever imagined. Join our newsletter list for inspiration, motivation, and exploration.

Get Our Job Seeker Tool Kit

Fill out the form below to get our job seeker resource guides delivered directly to your inbox.