What We’ve Accomplished & Where We Want to Go
Some time has passed since we last updated you on our Operation Eco journey, so now that we’ve moved to our new Conshohocken office location, we wanted to tell you what we’ve been up to and where we’re going.
Our Conshohocken Move
As you may know, Strata has two locations – one in Plymouth Meeting and one in Conshohocken. Our Plymouth Meeting facility primarily houses our production team and equipment, along with several other production-affiliated employees. Our Conshohocken location, on the other hand, is home to many other Strata team members – from IT and advertising to marketing and campaign coordination. We’re excited to announce that our Conshohocken team has moved, and will now be working out of 1100 East Hector Street (also known as the Spring Mill Campus).
We’re very excited about this new (refurbished) space, as it was chosen due to its excellent atmosphere, room for the company to evolve and expand, natural lighting, clean, modern, and industrial feel, as well as its flexibility and sense of community. We knew we could renovate and add to the space without overusing new resources and materials or conducting a complete redo – which was a primary goal for us. Additionally, it’s right down the road from our original Conshohocken office location and is yet another “small change” for employees with big current and potential impact.
Our Conshohocken Office Eco Choices
To innovate and refresh this new (yet used) space with minimum impact on our environment, we worked with Re:Vision Architecture, a company well-known for “re-visioning and restoring the balance between natural, built, and social environments.” We knew they could help us evolve this office space with environmental care and green consciousness to the best of our ability.
Although as a tenant, we didn’t have control over everything, we were able to use a lot of existing materials and remodel in an environmentally conscientious manner. Here are some of the details…
First and foremost – the building we chose (Spring Mill Campus) was a tire factory from 1912 to 1980 – so it has a ton of history and feels that way. It’s an older building with modernized refurbishing and a unified, community feel across offices and companies. So, all necessary structures and infrastructure were already in place. Reusing versus starting from scratch is the single biggest eco-benefit, as is the case whenever you find a way to reuse.
We were extremely happy with how close it is to public transportation (just a short walk to the train station, for example), as well as many food and coffee places. The building even has food options, like vending machines of various types, right within its walls.
The building’s HVAC system is a geothermal system, which, if you’re unfamiliar, is one of the most efficient HVAC systems out there.
Energy & Air Quality
The space is outfitted with an energy recovery ventilator, which constantly exchanges indoor air with outdoor air, recovering 90% of heat energy. This basically means that while saving energy, we have a lot more outdoor air in our space than in most standard offices.
The office space, in general, has an incredible amount of natural light and exposure to the outdoors, as it’s surrounded by large, tall windows. This ample sunlight reduces our need for lighting fixtures and will help heat the office in the winter. We’ve also installed south-facing shades to reduce glare and summer heat, and ultimately lower our need for air conditioning. These shades are vinyl-free from Mermet’s eco line, with partially natural fabric and highly recycled content. For us, it was imperative that we found non-vinyl shades since vinyl is toxic, can’t be recycled, and offs gases throughout its lifetime. Additionally, according to the DOE, if we manage the usage of these shades, we can reduce heat gain by 77%.
Furthermore, all lighting fixtures are energy efficient LED and occupancy censored. This means that their sensors will detect the presence of people and turn them on and off as needed. Even better? The finial lights in the main cubicle area have daylight sensors – so they dim as the sun goes down.
We chose a drywall product that has a higher level of recycled content than typical drywall. Additionally, the sound insulation within these walls is mineral wool insulation, which is made of 95% recycled content.
Most notably, we made use of the existing polished concrete subfloor in the lobby, lunch area, and back of house, instead of applying another flooring over top – which would have left a larger carbon footprint. The chosen carpet tiles for the rest of the office are by Interface, and are known for their “cradle to cradle” material. This material is highly recycled, and when it’s at the end of its life in our office space, the company will take the tiles back, recycle them, and turn them into new carpeting. Additionally, the tile format stops us from having to replace the entire floor after just a few spills. If needed, we can simply just replace a few tiles.
The glass doors into the various rooms are of reused glass. Not only are they recycled, but they help to further promote the abundance of natural lighting and a connection to each other as well as the outdoors.
We chose to use acoustic ceiling tiles by Armstrong, which feature high amounts of recycled content and environmentally friendly, plant-based binders.
Paints & Coatings
All of the paints and coatings used as finishes within our space are low-VOC. The products are primarily of maple wood and have clear finishes – natural materials that do not emit gases over time.
Appliances & Supplies
All kitchen appliances are energy-star rated appliances, and the sink and dishwasher within the kitchen are low-flow appliances – which means they have around a 1-gallon-per-minute restriction. We also installed the dishwasher to help promote the use of plates and silverware as opposed to paper products and plastic utensils with single-use applications.
Living Our Mission
Lastly, we’re not just placing eco-friendly elements within our space and renovating conscientiously, but living in an eco-friendly manner, as well. We’re promoting the use of plant-based or phosphate-free dish detergents to help reduce the number of phosphates that end up in the environment, especially in our lakes and streams. We’re using silverware, plates, mugs, and other dishware instead of one-time use plastics. We’re also promoting other reuses with the eco-swag we’ve distributed. This swag includes things like beeswax wrap, reusable snack and produce bags, grocery tote bags, and more.
The Plymouth Meeting Office Beginning Changes
We’re excited for the more in-depth Plymouth Meeting renovations to come and appreciate you for keeping up with our eco-efforts. Since we own the Plymouth Meeting space, there are more possibilities for change and impact. We’ll provide exciting updates about this in the near future – but until then, follow us on social media (Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn) to keep up with our eco initiative and look out for future blogs.
Thankful for a Company Culture that Inspires Creativity & Customer Success
It’s the season of giving, and this year (and every year) we couldn’t be anymore thankful for the company we’ve become and continue to be. We’re so grateful for the people and clients we get to work with each and every day, and can’t thank them enough for their hard work and support. That being said, we want to take the time to share what Strata is most thankful for this year – good customer and company culture, and the ways in which you can foster it.
Thank You, Strata Company
This year, we’re not only taking time to look back on how far we’ve come, but to express our appreciation and gratitude for our successes, inspirations, and company culture. Good company culture is created by the employees who show up and give it their all, so it’s important that they have a good place to do that. Having a trusted and respected environment where employees’ voices are heard gives them a space to feel included and listened to.
We strive to make sure all employees feel challenged, supported, and respected, but also ensure it’s clear that Strata isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. The biggest part of a positive atmosphere is being able to handle negative or difficult situations and being able to overcome them. All companies encounter hurdles, but having a team that is ready to conquer them is a large part of a quality company culture. We’re thankful that our team embodies this and was able to be recognized this year, as we were awarded Great Place to Work certification. Check out our blog on how we earned this certificate.
How You Can Focus on Both the Customer & Your Team – Equally
It’s possible to put both your customers and employees first. How? By having good company culture. Customers take how your company is running into consideration, not just what you’re selling to them. The way your employees act, feel, and communicate with each other and your customers often determines how long your clients stick around for, or if they even buy from you to begin with. At Strata, we pride ourselves on the relationships we build with our clients and our employees. We like to believe that the more excitement and connection there is within the office, the more connected employees are with clients – and the more excited clients are about services and offerings. It’s one thing to sell your product well, but going the extra mile for client experience is the game changer. A positive work environment is what motivates employees to do just that. So, before you think company culture isn’t as important as other aspects of your company, remember that it could very well be the reason your company isn’t seeing consistent sales.
How to Show Thanks
So ask yourself, what do your employees value most in their work environment, and what will motivate them? Is it trust? Respect? Creativity? Consistency? Positivity? The freedom to speak and make decisions? Whatever it may be, whether it’s one, or all of them, instilling the ones that matter most is what will facilitate the best environment for your team. The goal is for everyone to feel welcomed and accepted. One of the best ways to do this is by periodically recognizing your employees – let them know you see and acknowledge how hard they’re working. Recent studies show that “the best-performing teams receive roughly six positive comments for every negative one. They then share this positivity with their co-workers”, causing a ripple effect of positivity.
Cultures that successfully embrace gratitude tend to share these basics attributes:
- They treat their employees like real people, not anonymous workers.
- They trust and empower those employees to do great things.
- They accept mistakes, encourage original ideas, and reward risk-taking.
- They routinely express appreciation for the person, not just the job.
- They hire individuals who care about the organization’s future and who will add to the positive culture.
As we said, a strong, positive, and motivating culture can take time, but the first step is recognizing the team and environment you have, and thinking through where you’d like both to be in the future. We figured, what better time than the season of giving to emphasize this topic? We hope you’re able to take away some insight, see why we’re so thankful for our current culture, and now have some ideas on how to improve your own. Questions? Feel free to contact us.
Cheers to Us – We‘re Certified!
Strata’s thrilled to announce that we’ve become Great Place to Work-Certified™. We consider employee experience a top priority, and owe our continued success to our team of dedicated employees here at Strata. We celebrate and thank them all for helping us earn this incredible recognition.
Why a Certification?
At Strata, our vision’s clear. We want to not only help our clients and provide them the best solutions, but to also foster a great work environment and company culture. We pride ourselves on this mission, and even as we announce this certification, we are always looking for ways to improve. Good company culture not only brings in top talent, but motivates our employees to go above and beyond for our company, our customers, and each other. In fact, we’ve learned that 94% of entrepreneurs and 88% of job seekers say that a healthy culture at work is vital for success. Along with that, 69% of employees would work harder if they received more recognition.
We believed that our people deserved to be celebrated for their positive attitudes, unity, and the impact they have on our culture, so we opened the floor to our employees and had them share their feelings towards and experiences of Strata through the Great Place to Work’s survey. We were pleased to see that 96% of our employees said that when you join Strata, you’re made to feel welcome. Plus, 94% of employees said that they take pride in working for Strata, and are always willing to give extra to get the job done (but we weren’t surprised by that)! We’re so glad that our employees feel this way, and we wouldn’t be who we are today (and where we are today) without them.
“At Strata, our brand is more than a logo, a color palette, and a tagline. Our brand is our people, and because of them we help our clients Make Smart Happen. That’s why over the years we’ve made it our top priority to invest in them and our culture – because at the end of the day that’s what defines our company – real solutions, powered by real (happy and passionate) people.” – Caitlin Lally, Marketing Manager
About the Certification
Great Place to Work® Certification™ is the most “definitive ’employer-of-choice’ recognition that companies aspire to achieve”. It’s the only recognition based entirely on what employees report about their workplace experience. Great Place to Work Certification is recognized worldwide by employees and employers alike, and is the global benchmark for identifying and recognizing outstanding employee experience. Every year, more than 10,000 companies across 60 countries apply to get Great Place to Work-Certified. We’re so proud to have applied and been selected.
What’s to Come
To celebrate, we’ll be promoting our Great Place to Work Certification all over our channels and platforms. This certification is all about our employees, so we want them to be part of the celebration and promotion today and every day. Strata also plans to take the feedback we received from our employees, and review it. We hope that this will help us continue to improve our work environment and employee satisfaction. We don’t just want to be a Great Place to Work this year, we want to be a Great Place to Work every year.
As a company who puts our employees first, we want to tell you that this type of accomplishment can take time. If you find that you aren’t sure how your employees feel at your company, let their voices be heard. Conduct a survey and allow them to share their thoughts so you can get a better understanding of your team’s pain points, wants, and needs. Who knows, maybe you’ll be next to be named Great Place to Work certified! Questions? Feel free to .