After 18 months of working remotely from home, iManage’s new headquarters at 71 South Wacker is the kind of workplace that employees want to return to. The 85,000-square-foot office designed by Eastlake Studio is an oasis of warm wood, deep blue and green finishes, a statement staircase connecting the two levels of this dynamic workspace and playful rope lighting that emphasizes iManage’s employee-centric work culture. There’s a timeless modernity that feels inviting and authentic, and in speaking with Ray Scheppach, iManage’s Chief Financial Officer, we learn that’s exactly what they were hoping for.
Giving Employees a Voice
“We started with 150 people six years ago and we’re over 800 globally now, so it’s been a six-year sprint,” says Scheppach. After moving their HQ staff three times at their previous location to accommodate accelerated growth, iManage secured space at 71 South Wacker. They began their buildout in early 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which presented its own unique challenges. “We could have pressed ‘the pause button’ at that point, but we opted instead to prepare for the future, and everyone came together to make it happen,” reflects Scheppach.
From the outset, iManage leadership knew how important it would be to include their employees and give them a voice in the process. Scheppach explains, “As part of the requirements gathering, we involved our internal teams to learn what was important to them. By listening to our staff and eliciting their perspectives and priorities, we were able to collectively decide what features and amenities were most important.”
Thoughtful and intentional details such as dedicated mother’s rooms, a prayer room and a game room emerged from this employee engagement, along with a large kitchen and shared eating areas that accommodate the growing iManage staff. “Aside from the conference rooms, the kitchen is the central gathering place for people to come together to relax, collaborate and create a sense of community,” says Scheppach.
Adjusting to the New Normal
Despite completing construction in April 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the iManage team from moving into their new workspace until July 2021. They are currently observing a hybrid work model, with employees in the office two days per week. “I think we all have to recognize that the world is different today,” explains Scheppach. “As a leadership team, we are focused on employee safety and using that principle to inform our approach to return-to-work, tempered by the humility to recognize that circumstances remain somewhat fluid and we will need to adapt as we go along.”
With offices and staff around the world, iManage’s workspace is built to keep employees connected, no matter where they are. The town hall space allows HQ to host large conference calls and events with iManage teams in California, London, Bangalore and beyond, and digital tablets throughout the workspace provide real-time information about available conference rooms, phone booths and more.
When Values Align
There are many factors to consider when choosing a workplace; for Scheppach, it came down to three priorities: location, service and planning for the future. “The thing about Irvine Company, other than being a good team of people who want to do the right thing, is that from our very first conversations, they referred to us as a ‘customer’ not a ‘tenant.’ It’s a subtle detail, but was one of those things that impressed us.” Scheppach adds, “71 South Wacker is obviously an amazing building and an amazing location, but ultimately it boils down to service. They committed to delivering a level of service that’s class A, and they deliver on that promise every day. It makes a big difference. We feel like we matter.”
During times of change and uncertainty, businesses need a partner they can count on. Irvine Company’s commitment to forever ownership means that we stand by our customers today, tomorrow and every day. We are delighted to welcome iManage to 71 South Wacker and look forward to working together for years to come.
Photos by Kendall McCaugherty, Hall + Merrick Photography. Designer: Eastlake Studio