One of the more interesting aspects about being part of the Virgin Group is seeing how our diverse range of companies interpret the brand - be it through their culture, products and services or workspaces.
These facets of a business are often heavily intertwined; something which was very apparent when we spoke to Virgin Mobile USA’s Justin Scott, Director of Communications, about the company’s new home in downtown Kansas City.
Hey Justin, let’s start with the office itself - what sets it apart from others?
In the spirit of Richard Branson, both people and fun shine through the design and culture at the new Virgin Mobile USA office in downtown Kansas City. By design, our workspaces keep our entire team - including all of our senior leaders - accessible to each other and working together. No one has an office and we like it that way!
All workspaces access windows for both daylight and sweeping views of downtown from the 24th floor. Our collaboration stations are outfitted with cutting-edge technology and glass-marker boards so we can easily share and express ideas.
Just like the kitchen is always the life of the party at home, our kitchen area doubles as a place for the team to both eat and unwind. It’s also boasts panoramic views, an 80-inch TV, a 16 x 3 foot lacquered, butcher-block-covered island and often hosts all-hands meetings, happy hours and eventually small music shows.
How does your workspace reflect your company's message?
The simple and experiential office design reflects the culture of Virgin and represents the type of employees who work here. It also depicts what we offer mobile users: a simple mobile experience with outstanding customer service. You see pops of the Virgin red-hot color accented throughout, along with wood panels and modern furnishings. It also features décor that gives a nod to Virgin’s other companies and ties into our Inner Circle mobile offer that allows you to "live a life more Virgin" by enjoying perks from other Virgin companies and leading retailers.
How does your environment inspire employees to be creative at work?
The open floorplan and workspaces, including our meeting rooms and collaboration stations allows for everyone to be seen and heard. Even the conference rooms have glass walls and doors. We observe each other working, creating and pitching new ideas all the time. We also enjoy the 14-foot-tall ceilings, which allows us to bring in photo-shoot equipment for our marketing work and open spaces to kick around a Snapchat soccer ball or putt some Facebook golf balls.
What is the impact of your office space on your company's culture?
At Virgin Mobile USA, we connect people to the things that matter in life. That’s why we created the Inner Circle, changing the way that our members experience mobile and, in the Virgin spirit, changing our business for good. To this end, our individual workspaces are wide open without walls or barriers, which exposes team members to all kinds of conversations and interactions they may not normally have. This helps us stay connected to each other, to our leadership team and learn new information every day, ultimately helping us stay connected to our customers. It’s this simple office layout that helps us deliver the best mobile experience to our customers.
What else would you like to tell us about your space?
Our current space grew out of the collaboration of a bourgeoning team of scrappy self-starters working in a temporary space on the eighth floor of One Kansas City Place before the first hammer swung on the 24th floor. This temporary office revolved around people and culture from day one.
In fact, Elise Reuter from the Kansas City Business Journal captured the essence of our people, culture and temporary space perfectly: “With a makeshift putting course, colorful artwork and a wall dedicated to its employees, Virgin Mobile USA’s temporary space has the makings of a startup.”
When it comes to our office and our mobile offerings, we’re trying to design everything with simplicity so it just works. Our office is a beautiful example of a simple, open design that generates collaboration and care between employees. The mobile industry is aggressive and competition is fierce. Sometimes, that makes for tough work. You need that team around you so everybody can celebrate the good times and keep you going through the hard times. Our office naturally fosters this caring culture of treating your employees like customers and customers like employees. And that is the Virgin way.