Insurance firm embraces hybrid workstyles with inventive office design and branding

Jim Jordan | 23 Aug 2023

When Amerisure, a property & casualty carrier in business for more than 100 years, designed a new, larger office environment in suburban Lisle, IL, the result was a light-filled, collaborative space that pays tribute to its Chicago area location.

The Farmington Hills, Michigan-based company provides commercial insurance solutions for U.S.-based construction, manufacturing and healthcare businesses. While many team members still work remotely, the Chicago area is a formidable insurance hub, with major corporate clients, sales teams and company leaders coming to the office.

The previous office in the same building was smaller, with little natural light, a single large conference room and no areas for collaboration, small meetings or even privacy.

“We increased the square footage because our Chicago office has the highest attendance compared to other field offices. The group enjoys the collaboration and culture. We also have The Amerisure Surety group, another business group in the Chicago market, so we wanted to give this group additional space to collaborate and conduct meetings,” says Kim Desjardine, Claims Experience Manager at Amerisure.

Casual meeting and desk spaces accommodate visits by sales teams and clients.

To meet Amerisure’s needs, Chicago-based JDJ Architects designed an environment that accommodates a variety of spaces, including two conference rooms, three private offices, a break room, an open area with workstations and comfortable seating, two huddle rooms, a mother’s/wellness room and a privacy room.

The mother's/wellness room is open to anyone – from nursing moms to a team member needing to take a few minutes to destress and relax. An adjacent small privacy room can be used for prayer and personal communications.

“We love the way the office is arranged, with the perimeter for offices and conference rooms and work stations and two open collaborative areas in the middle,” said Tony Burbank, Director of Facilities and Corporate Services at Amerisure. “Conference and open collaboration areas were a nicety in the past; now they’re a necessity.”

Wall graphics in company colors build brand identification and add energy to collaboration areas; the unmistakable Chicago skyline on the conference room wall provides privacy plus a sense of place.

The design brings in plenty of light from its corner location, combined with pale gray walls, an upgraded LED lighting package and new, shorter workstation panels. “It’s extremely beneficial to get that natural light; it has a positive impact on morale and health,” says Burbank.

The walls were lowered to add more light and foster interaction.

A key component of the office design was the branding element. Light blue and gray for walls and floors form a neutral backdrop for the dynamic red and blue corporate colors. Coincidentally, the colors also work perfectly with the local touch points and references used as graphic elements and signage. The Chicago flag, in red, blue, light blue and white, accents the break room wall divider. The Chicago skyline highlights and provides some privacy on the glass-walled main conference room. Employees enthusiastically voted on the selection of other local landmarks, such as Lake Shore Drive and the Magnificent Mile; photos were used as room signs. Other corporate branding elements included use of motivational graphics in key areas in the office. The words, “Partners For Success” stand out in the small reception/waiting area.

Amerisure offices incorporate local references. Here, elements of the Chicago flag add excitement and interest to the break room.

Burbank and Desjardine worked with JDJ Architects throughout the process and said it was a great experience. “I have done many office moves, remodels and renovations and am used to working with architectural firms only until the plans are completed,” says Burbank. “JDJ Architects’ interior designer, Ashley Chavez, attended 99% of our office construction meetings and stayed with our team from the first drawing to getting the certificate of occupancy. She promptly answered questions about the build and even updated drawings on the fly. She also provided great counsel on finish and material issues.”

The new workspace has brought positive comments from the Amerisure team. “We have fully embraced hybrid working,” says Burbank. “Our office is designed for bringing people together with purposeful intention. They’re gathering, not just for working, but for collaboration.”

Jim Jordan

Jim Jordan

Jim Jordan is the principal for JDJ, a member of the AIA and ALA, a LEED-accredited professional, a registered energy professional in the City of Chicago, and is a Chicago self-certified architect. You can find Jim on LinkedIn.

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