Case Study: First National Bank of Omaha

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Prior to 2020, FNBO was undergoing a workplace modernization process at a measured pace. The future Covid-19 pandemic expedited this transition of the corporate headquarters into a flexible, efficient, and collaborative workplace of the future. The main transformation goal: create a collaborative work environment which supports working differently and design a timeless, transitional destination for employees that supports attracting and retaining the best talent in the area.

When employees abruptly left the downtown Omaha headquarters to work from home in March 2020, FNBO leadership saw this as an opportunity to adapt the Modern Flexible Workplace philosphy, a new guiding organizational vision strategy. Modern Flexible Workplace is the deliberate and integrated transformation of the workplace and technology to improve the bank’s ability to support innovation, increase organizational agility, and streamline operational efficiency. 

Pre-pandemic employee surveys reflected an overall trend that many corporations experience nationwide today: the workplace is not solely a place to “go to work.” Choice, flexibility, and adaptability are imperative to today’s workforce. With the Modern Flexible Workplace strategy established, FNBO partnered with design firm RDG Planning & Design to bring the vision to life. 

When faced with escalating construction costs and increased material lead times, FNBO and design firm RDG Planning & Design turned to longtime industry partner Shaw Contract for flooring consultation on the three-year phased project remodel. 

After reviewing the design intent of the Modern Flexible Workplace and understanding the accelerated project timeline, Shaw Contract developed a strategy to secure pricing on more than 53,000 sq yards of carpet tile and 68,500 sq ft of luxury vinyl tile. 

The strategy shielded the products from unprecedented construction price increases and guaranteed product availability for three years. With a tight three-week selection process timeline, RDG Planning & Design reviewed Shaw Contract’s extensive product offering and specified more than 20 styles to begin the phased order process.

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FNBO selected Shaw Contract as the single flooring manufacturer for the project, which not only protected FNBO from up to a 45 percent material price increase but also avoided construction delays by preordering the needed material.

The Tower Transformation began in April 2021 with the goal to remodel four floors in eight months. Three flooring palettes in rust, neutral, and navy colorways became the foundation of the design. Each palette contained an LVT and a field and two accent carpet tile patterns to cohesively bridge the multi-floor transformation. Department team leads were given the freedom to choose their flooring palette, which encouraged engagement and ownership of the workplace design.

“These spaces are designed with users specifically in mind - to empower individuals to choose when and how they work. To help FNBO realize its goal of creating a truly unique and employee-centered workplace, it was crucial to involve employees in the design process,” said RDG Partner and Interior Designer Alysia Radicia, NCIDQ. “The result is a vibrant, welcoming environment that people feel personally invested in creating.” 

To foster community and collaboration, a new amenity floor, which reflects the culture and rich history of FNBO, was added during the renovation project.

Recognizing FNBO’s commitment to sustainability and environmental leadership, Shaw Contract reclaimed and recycled the existing carpet installed 20 years ago – both its own EcoWorx® carpet tile and a competitor’s carpet tile. 

At the end of the renovation project, Shaw Contract and FNBO will eliminate 500,000 pounds of landfill consumption from the renovation process through the Shaw Contract re[TURN]. 

By recycling the existing carpet tile, FNBO’s reclamation project saved approximately 4.2 million pounds of carbon emissions, which is the equivalent of planting nearly 2,320 acres of trees. The re[TURN] Reclamation Program has recycled approximately 1 billion pounds of carpet since 2006; this material becomes future EcoWorx carpet tile. 

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Additionally, the new carpet tile installed in FNBO’s building was manufactured in a carbon neutral facility, optimized for low embodied carbon, and then offset to be carbon neutral.

The result is a stunning workplace transformation of 23 floors of the 40-floor headquarters. Green hues used throughout the space reflect FNBO’s corporate branding color, and an overall earthen palette connects the interiors to the surrounding natural Nebraska landscape. The cohesive design spans throughout the renovation project. 

Formerly uniform rows of cubicles on each floor are transformed into spaces for all types of work: hoteling workstations, small focus rooms, huddle zones and larger conference areas. The Modern Flexible Workplace concept created many new employee amenities: a mother’s suite with multiple privacy rooms, technology-free rejuvenation rooms on each floor, and an art-Deco inspired café that looks more like a hotel than a traditional 165-year-old financial banking institution. 

“The workforce no longer sees the workplace as solely a place to ‘go to work.’ A variety of settings and layouts are desired for different modes of work. Choice, flexibility, and adaptability are imperative to attracting and retaining today’s workforce, and candidates for FNBO jobs are expressing as much. This means we must create a destination feel in our facilities that meets human needs while encouraging active, dynamic movement throughout the day.” said Brenda Dooley, Sr. Vice President, FNBO Buildings.