American Express marries work styles with work spaces
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
driving innovation at American Express
Co. as its Blue Work program marries work style preferences with
workspace, according to the company's Chief Diversity Officer Kerrie Peraino, who was recently
interviewed by the editors of DiversityInc.
The project, being
shepherded by the financial firm’s human resources, global real estate and
global technology teams, is lowering costs while improving productivity and
innovation, Peraino told DiversityInc. in a video interview.
"We’re dealing with
a very real business issue that has a cost-save opportunity,” she said. "There
is not a business today that isn’t wrestling with the high price of real estate.
Our motto is ‘Let’s get rid of space, not people.’ That is a driver for us.”
The Blue Work
program has identified four types of work spaces: Hub, Club, Roam and Home. Hub-based
employees have jobs that require face-to-face time in one of the company’s
office locations. Club employees go into a hub office no more than three times
a week, either because they work part time or work some days from another
location, such as home or another American Express campus. Club employees check
into a hub office and are given space to use that day.
"Our Sydney, Singapore
and London offices who have some Blue Work space [dedicated to Club employees]
are finding it really increases collaboration and innovation among team
members, who are seeing each other more frequently in shared space,” Peraino
Company leaders who
were initially worried or
uncomfortable about losing control of employees not assigned a permanent space
have been swayed by increased productivity, engagement and idea generation, she
Roam employees are "road
warriors,” such as sales people or someone with client management responsibilities,
who have no office. "These are employees we are paying to not be in the office.
They are out closing deals and meeting new customers, so why should we be
paying for office space,” Peraino said.
employees are given a stipend to work from home "and we are not paying real
estate for [them],” she said.
"Blue Work helps us
deal with multiple generations in the workplace today,” Peraino told
DiversityInc., noting on any given day, American Express offices have an
occupancy rate of approximately 50 percent, as people are out of the office
helps us meet people where they want to be met, in terms of preferred work
type, and we marry that with what the job requires. Not every job requires you
to be sitting in a corporate office or for the company to bear the expense of
company space. Plus, you have people across generations who want a different