A new office in Eagan builds camaraderie among co-workers after working remotely.
When GovDocs Inc. moved from St. Paul to Eagan last year, it represented more than a change in location, it was also a reimagining of office culture in a world still emerging from the pandemic.
GovDocs Inc., a business that simplifies employment law compliance for multijurisdiction companies, was mostly remote during the pandemic. During that time, the company also started outsourcing its printing, product fulfillment and shipping needs. “We used to need an industrial-flex space,” says chief executive officer Zach Stabenow. “Without the warehouse, we’re exclusively office space.”
So faced with an expiring office-space lease mid-pandemic, Stabenow and company leaders found themselves rethinking a lot of the old assumptions about work culture. “We decided on a flexible-hybrid work model,” Stabenow says. “We’re producing at home and coming in for collaboration and socialization.” And they needed a workspace designed to reflect that shift.
Blue Pencil Collective designers Kasey Johnson and Regan Nix took what Stabenow and other GovDocs Inc. leaders had envisioned and turned it into reality. “The project’s mission was to not only bring people back to work, but to make them excited to come back to work,” Nix says. “It’s about culture, and it’s about community.”
Ultimately, the decision to move GovDocs Inc. from St. Paul to the Eagandale Corporate Center was based on real estate’s guiding principle: location, location, location.
“It’s centrally located and has easy freeway access,” Stabenow says. “The building has a lot of amenities, and our fourth-floor space has an amazing view. We see the Minnesota River and both Minneapolis and St. Paul skylines.”
Yet it doesn’t make sense to come back to the office for the amazing views alone. “Workers can get set in their ways,” Nix says. “They’re wondering why they would come into the office when they could just jump on Zoom.”
New technology is one answer. Instead of two or three conference rooms that were overused and overbooked, they now have a dozen conference rooms, equipped with cameras and whiteboard walls. “These tools have led to a lot of discovery,” Stabenow says. “You can’t do that over a Zoom call.”
They also have an awesome break room, which serves as the center of the GovDocs Inc. universe. “The community table is a gathering spot,” Johnson says. “It’s where [the employees] eat lunch, and it’s where they collaborate.”
Stabenow adds that it’s where they celebrate. “We celebrate our good work,” he says. “We celebrate anniversaries, and we celebrate our community service.”
The new space is also on brand, literally. “The GovDocs brand hits you the second you walk in the door,” Nix says. “It’s a really outstanding first impression.”
The most visual piece is the company’s mantra: “We Gov Forth Together.” “It’s massive and unforgettable,” Nix says.
Law posters, which GovDocs Inc. produces by the millions, adorn 4 by 9 feet sliding-door panels.
Colors, down to custom-made tiles, match GovDocs red and white brand colors. “It screams who we are,” he says. “That’s important.”