Did you know that our Kolar team is comprised of experts with rich and diverse backgrounds? It’s part of what makes our workforce so unique. We’re a group of experts, strategic thinkers, brand experience gurus, creative designers, and project managers. But at our core, we all do the same thing. We translate a discovered truth about your business into design strategies that solve your business challenges while we optimize your costs and make your vision a reality.
Today, we’ll introduce you to just one of our extraordinary team members–Amy Schlachter. Amy brings 6 years of professional experience as a Commercial Interior Designer. As a part of Kolar’s design team, Amy helps transform workplace culture for Kolar’s clients. She has experience working on-site surveys, effective client communications, and creating complete construction documentation sets. She is also passionate about assisting clients with furniture selection, material selection, and creating 3D models.
Let’s get to know Amy and understand her perspective on workplace interiors, the new way of working, and her future ideas for Kolar.
How can workplace interiors impact brands and employees?
Workplace interiors and company brand are the most important factors of employee satisfaction. Employees need a sense of place, belonging, and connection, which is achieved through their interior environment that must successfully reflect the company’s brand. A company’s story is told through the interior design of the space. The design is an expression of the brand throughout the workplace connecting the employees and clients to the company’s mission. Employees should come to their workplace feeling proud to be there working for a company that cares about their satisfaction as well as the overall success of the company.
Interiors have a significant impact on employee efficiency and retainment, so it is important to invest in the environment a company’s employees work in every day. Productivity can be determined by how comfortable and happy an individual is, which is a reflection of their experience in a space. Everything from color and space layout to acoustics, lighting, and temperature affects one’s mood to work. Employees are more likely to look forward to coming into the office to produce work and engage with other employees if they are coming to a place that they enjoy being in. It takes time and effort to come up with a design strategy that offers the perfect balance of heads-down private work, collaborative work, and social opportunity. All of these spaces must also reflect the company brand, which can be done with branding and experiential graphics, color, vinyl film design, artwork, lighting design, and just about every other design element. It all works together to tell one story of who the company is.
What is the new way of working and how has it changed companies’ cultures?
The new way of working has evolved into something very different from the traditional 5 days in the office at assigned “cubicles” with little collaboration. Hybrid work is the current most successful trend that we have seen through Kolar Experience Institute data collection and analysis of modern workplace design. A company culture that gives employees more flexible spaces to work, whether that be unassigned shared workspaces, remote working capabilities, or more real estate used for meeting rooms has seen the most employee satisfaction.
As one example, we have learned that reimagining an office floor plan to devote more space to meeting rooms with audio and visual capabilities and less space to larger individual assigned desk spaces achieves the best environment for this new way of working. We still see employee collaboration and meetings but we see this in a new light, turning more large conference rooms into multiple smaller rooms for smaller group interactions or zoom conference calls done between companies at different locations. We want to create the most positive and satisfying workplace that encourages employees to come into the office and maintain connection with their fellow coworkers while also offering A/V support for meeting through technology when it makes sense.
All companies are different, so the important thing is figuring out what is going to support employees best so they can achieve the most efficient work day possible, while maintaining a consistent and positive company culture. Instead of relying solely on the overall research and studies of current workplace design, it is important to also figure out the most significant satisfactions and dissatisfactions of the specific company itself. By learning what employees’ needs are and what will optimize their work day experience, the data collection from each individual makes all the difference in deciphering the best design strategy for each individual company. The ultimate goal is to offer the company’s leaders, workers, and clients the best environmental experience possible that will last long-term.
How do you think Kolar is impacting workplace interiors?
Kolar is such a unique company in the way we incorporate factual data collection and analysis to drive design decisions. A client will often ask the question “Why?” and you can’t give an answer to that without having the information to back that up. Kolar Experience Institute is the answer to that question “Why?”. Not many other companies have a program that collects the client’s data and analyzes it to drive the entire design of a space. There is so much information out there but to be able to collect information from the client’s employees and turn it into a solution the way Kolar does, sets us apart from the rest. Times are constantly changing and we all need to stay on top of what is the best, most efficient solution to client satisfaction in the workplace.
Blending brand strategies with interior design is another way Kolar is impacting workplace interiors. Since Kolar’s existence, brand strategies and experiential graphic design has been the leading force which is now merging with the interior design of an environment. These all go hand-in-hand as you need the interior finishes, furnishing, and structure to support the brand strategies the company wants to express in the space. Instead of looking at branding and graphics as an entirely separate service apart from interior design, we are continually working on strategies to combine branding, experiential graphics, and interior design into one unified strategy that successfully tells a client’s story through the design of their space.
We strive to lead by example by taking all we have learned in data collection and analysis of current workplace strategies and implementing that into our own workplace. We are updating our own office space to reflect what our employees have expressed will provide the best work environment for us based on this new way of working and achieving our own company success and satisfaction.
What inspires you most as a leader at Kolar?
The creativity, passion, and drive that each and every person at Kolar conveys on a daily basis is a constant inspiration. We are fortunate enough to work together in the office several days a week with positive energy always flowing and sparking new ideas for each project we are working on. It is a team effort to come up with the best, most innovative ideas for clients, so I love being surrounded by so much collaboration and support. “Hard-working” is an understatement to describe the people of Kolar. Everyone goes above and beyond for every project, which only the people in the office see how much extra effort is put into the final product. People would not do this if they were not passionate and dedicated for what they do! The team delivers such amazing work that is shared with the company internally every other week. Gratitude moments and connecting as a group on a regular basis provides such a positive work environment encouraging more great work to come.
Has anything you learned through your experience at Kolar surprised you?
Creativity and inspiration everywhere you turn in the office has been such a positive influence since working at Kolar. Projects and inspiration hung up on the walls and whiteboards, collaboration for innovation, and employee engagement all happening in the office offers such a great workplace to be a part of. The Kolar Experiential Institute data collection, analysis, and research has blown me away as well. It is such a great program unique to the area offering so much for workplace design improvements. All the Kolar projects completed and in progress have collectively surprised me in that I see first hand how much time and effort goes into the extraordinary end result.
Where do you envision Kolar in the next ten years?
Growth! Kolar is continually improving processes and implementing plans for expansion as a team and reaching more new clients everyday. Kolar has so much potential to continue improving and growing to add more inspired individuals to such a great group already. I am looking forward to seeing all that is to come!