How BADAYA’s New campus Changed Its Business

ISE Magazine January 2019 Volume: 51 Number: 1

By Tom Cassidy

BAYADA is a leader in providing clinical care and support services at home for people of all ages since 1975. To-day, our team includes more than 25,000 home healthcare professionals serving in 22 states and five countries.

In summer 2015, our chief financial officer, he mentioned that our president at the time, Mark Baiada, asked to explore the possibility of consolidating our Philadelphia area “support” functions and take advantage of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s Grow NJ Assistance Program, which seeks to attract or keep jobs in the state by offering tax credits to businesses.

The most immediate action following the initial 2015 conversation was the location assessment. Over the next several months, our broker showed us over a dozen properties in al-most as many townships, three counties and two states. The viable choices were aging facilities that needed major renovation.

The next was our architectural design firm. We toured one of the firm’s showcase project sites at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and I spent the day exploring our short-list properties and familiarizing them with existing BAYADA facilities. By winter 2016, we began to narrow in on a location with at least four viable alternatives spread over three counties and two states. Three would be renovations of varying degrees and one build-to-suit. Three key factors influenced our decision. The first was the “test fit” conducted by our design firm. We had to be sure we could accommodate our staff and our growth plans.

One of our business objectives included the need to relocate BAYADA University (our in-house learning center) to our new location. The previous location was anchored by three large, adjacent conference rooms with partitioned walls that opened to create a space capable of classroom-style training for 150 people. Two existing locations were suitable, but one sub-sequently failed a more in-depth mechanical systems inspection. We were left with two top candidates in different states.

Design and preparation for the building renovation and construction went into full swing. Our architectural design firm interviewed key stakeholders for data before the design. It was now time to select an owner’s representative and a general contractor.

Our owner’s representative selection was basically made for us as they independently received unsolicited recommendations from our architects, broker and primary furniture vendor. The owner’s representative helped us execute the contractor request for proposal (RFP) process. The GC selection ended up being one of the biggest decisions in the project and in hindsight, we made the right choice.

Communicating, measuring, deciding

We had 13 locations with 13 leases to relocate. Our CFO (project sponsor) and I proceeded to lay out the entire timeline of events, resulting in a two-phase construction plan and multiphase moves matching construction. We had to relocate our Learning Center before the end of June 2017. To complicate matters, we also had 11 current tenants on-site with their own lease expirations, some requiring us to draw up amicable deals for relocation.

As we went into design mode, we also increased our communication. A project website was launched on the company’s internal portal with up-to-date communications and an FAQ page. This ended up being somewhat of a misnomer, as every question that asked was answered on the site. Surveys were conducted periodically and Net Promoter Score (NPS) approval ratings hovered in the 50s. NPS is a recognized loyalty measure. In this case, it is based on the question of likelihood to recommend the campus work environment. NPS is calculated by the percentage of 5s (promoters) less the percentage of 1s and 2s (detractors). Scores above 50 are generally considered to be good.

Working with senior leaders in the company, we established design concepts that included: Bring “The BAYADA Way” (our mission, vision and values guiding us in our work) to life; tell stories of our clients and caregivers; provide workplace flexibility; be laptop-friendly with lightning-fast Wi-Fi inside and outside; respect the need for quiet spaces; integrate health and wellness; create places where people want to hang out; encourage cross collaboration with fun and “cool” social gathering spaces; and include plants and greenery.

Three decisions were made very early in the process that would set the tone for the space and drive much of the employees’ feedback. The first two decisions alone drove a significant portion of the input received; however, the topics did range drastically, which we will explore shortly.

Opening up the office spaces

First, there would be no offices. Every member of our staff would have identical workstation configurations in an open office environment. The building design included 660 such workstations for every employee from the new CEO, Baiada, to an entry-level associate.

Second, we would expose the ceilings and create a completely open environment, a cause for alarm to many. Although an open office policy was established about 10 years ago in all BAYADA offices, the combination of the size of the space and the lack of director offices was a concern.

To address the privacy concern, we created more than 70 enclosed spaces ranging in size from one-person focus rooms to large conference rooms.

Third, given our founding in Philadelphia (a city of neighborhoods), we decided to create identity and blend functions by creating 10 areas named and designed to reflect correlating neighborhoods in Philadelphia: Chestnut Hill, East Falls, Fairmount, Manayunk, Northern Liberties, Old City, Rittenhouse Square, Society Hill, University City and Washington Square.

Areas to gather, eat, think and work

There are some areas, concepts and amenities that incorporated the design principles and employee input.

The Dove Bar. It functions as a coffee bar, cafeteria and book share library, and was the last location to complete the design phase as we struggled to get it right. The Dove Bar has been a great example of how providing refreshing and unique spaces can change how we work.

Other places to “hang out.” Each floor is also designed with multiple living room-style workspaces where a similar evolution has occurred, these locations have become favorites, not only for breaks but for meetings and heads-down productive work.

kitchenettes, coffee and food. Several things became surprisingly clear quickly, including the need for easy access to simple amenities. Based on numerous questions and requests, kitchenettes were designed on every floor with two refrigerators to store lunches, filtered water, an ice machine, a single-cup coffee maker, a toaster and supplies to keep things running (cups, utensils, napkins).

Printers and files. In our previous spaces, we had numerous expensive-to-operate desktop printers. In anticipation of the move, we assessed all brands and devices for cost, durability and ease of connectivity and configuration and worked with our leading vendor to develop a print solution for the campus. In the end, we reduced the number of desktop printers, replaced the rest with high-efficiency units, created a single print server enabling printing to any device and added the ability to control the release of all print jobs for privacy.

Parking. One advantage of the consolidated campus is adequate parking as several of the locations we closed were over or near capacity. The current campus has ample parking to meet current need and the ability to expand.

Fitness and day care. Although we were unable to provide a gym or day care on campus due to space constraints, we did install a walking path, named after Philadelphia’s Kelly Drive, that offers a half-mile loop along the perimeter of the space.

Concierge services. Based on employee feedback, we implemented dry cleaning and shoe repair pickup services on campus and are constantly evaluating additional services for implementation, like on-site car detailing.