Lighter, brighter and airier defined the makeover for Meals from the Heartland, the Des Moines nonprofit winner of the All Makes 100 Year, $100,000 Office Makeover Contest.
Selected by All Makes’ judges as a nonprofit makeover finalist along with Community Support Advocates, New Horizons Adult Day Center, Living History Farms and Youth Emergency Support Services, Meals from the Heartland acquired over 7,000 votes to be one of four winners in the contest. Each winner received $25,000 worth of new office furniture from Allsteel and Hon, a Kyocera Copystar ECOSYS M5526 copier and a Meeting Owl from Owl Labs.
As with most nonprofits, Meals From the Heartland’s office furniture was donated, in this case, from local businesses.
“It wasn’t designed to fit the office, so the previous configuration wasn’t the most efficient use of space,” said All Makes Des Moines Vice President Kelly Coenen.
She and Designer Paula De Leeuw met with Executive Director Susan Bunz to determine the areas in which the new office furniture would be the most effective and to discuss the physical flow of operations and distribution. They considered three areas:
- the conference room, which is used frequently for remote workers;
- a large training room that holds 100 people; or
- employee workstations in the main part of the office as well as the reception station.
Meals from the Heartland leadership decided the most important element of the makeover was to create a better work environment for employees and allow for future growth.
All Makes provided three new permanent and three touch-down Hon Accelerate workstations. Coenen also left part of the $25,000 budget for a new Hon 10500 Series reception station to replace the one that was attached to the previous workstations. The new reception station is under the donor wall, which naturally draws the eye.
In addition to replacing the old furniture, Coenen and De Leeuw also reconfigured the existing space, creating wider aisles for increased collaboration and accessibility. They also lowered the high workstation panels that had blocked the windows and the natural light. Even the color of the new workstations creates a lighter, more open effect.
According to the Harvard Business Review, natural light is the No. 1 office “perk” employees crave.
“The huge windows with tons of great natural light drove our workstation design,” Coenen said. “We made it a much brighter, lighter, airier space, which positively impacts employees productivity and wellness so they can continue their critical mission of providing meals.”
Meals from the Heartland provides food to children and families in need. Its mission is to “alleviate life-threatening hunger through education, engagement and feeding.” Since its founding in 2008, the nonprofit has donated over 100 million meals to people in Iowa, the U.S. and the world, including South Africa, Haiti, Ghana, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Antigua, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Honduras, Mexico, Tanzania and Ukraine.
The All Makes 100 Year, $100,000 Office Makeover Contest occurred between April and June of this year. We announced the winners on July 9.