Renovations Bring Rewards

Linn-Co Federal Credit Union invigorates its office space with a design to promote creativity and productivity.


A winding path of river rocks leads Linn-Co Federal Credit Union ($70.4M, Lebanon, OR) members to teller counters made of recycled local timber.

The Lebanon, OR, “the land of love,” is also known as the “grass-seed king of the world” and for having a strong timber industry and several local rivers. The credit union is renovating three branches to reflect the counties’ local markets next year, making them look more lodge-like. Local grasses going to seed will be featured in the artwork separating tellers.

The renovations aim to reflect Linn-Co FCU’s pride in its community and to make employees and members feel more at home in the branches. They also conjure up thoughts of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater home in Pennsylvania.

Renovating your office can add comfort, which can spur productivity. And a unique office space can lead to higher job satisfaction, which is directly correlated with a lower staff turnover, higher work productivity, and higher consumer satisfaction. About 90% of respondents in a 2006 Gensler’s survey on U.S. workplace environment admitted that an effective workplace design is integral to employee productivity, the U.S. Journal of Public Affairs, Administration and Management reports. An estimate by executives showed that companies could increase their performance by about 22% with a well designed office. 

These types of location and industry-based renovations are becoming a major strategy for companies all over the world to boost creativity to make the workplace inviting and fun.

Perkins+Will, an integrated design firm, cites five principals of design on its Co-Design blog that credit unions can use as a starting point to renovating. First, have vision, positive culture, leadership, talent, and fiscal responsibility. Without these elements even the most ingenious work environment will fall flat. 

One key factor for renovating office space is expressing your brand, the design firm says, as Linn-Co FCU does by integrating its local market’s beauty into its branches.

Other companies that have created avant-garde office spaces include Oakley, the premier sunglasses company, and Legoland. In southern California, Oakley’s building looks like a futuristic castle, “a place of reinforced blast walls, product torture chambers and the padded cells of mad science,” says Oakley’s website. But the rough exterior is almost an oxymoron for the atmosphere inside the structure. Employees are free to promote their individuality, with casual dress, flexible schedules, and open doors, “where people feel free to experiment, take risks, jump off the edge, fall down once in a while, get back up and try it all over again,” says Kursty Groves in her book “I Wish I Worked There!”

Legoland in Billund, Denmark, was cited in Groves’ book as a unique office space. With games randomly dispersed throughout the office and multi-colored walls and furniture, the work space promotes playfulness, relaxation, and colleague collaboration. 

These office spaces are fun to look at and aspire to but might not be attainable for all credit unions. Simple renovations, such as using warm colors that energize, purchasing ergonomic furniture, and adding artwork or plants to work spaces, can reduce stress and strengthen job satisfaction. Big renovations get press, but small renovations can add to the success of an office.


May 7, 2012



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