Open space, open science


Matt Bell, Ph.D

Here at MedImmune, we are always seeking new ways to positively impact both our business and our employees. Our transition to activity-based workspaces is no exception. Our newly-designed areas provide many types of spaces for people to work in different ways. This includes options such as open space desks, small breakout rooms for quick meetings or confidential phone calls, larger team areas and traditional conference rooms, walking treadmill desks, open living-room areas for less formal meetings and even bean bag rooms for creative brainstorming. So, basically, we can choose the most appropriate space to suit the desired working style or creative need.

I’m sure we all remember many of those office spaces of the past (some of which still exist) no matter what your industry—monochromatic, uninspired, windowless, devoid of energy. It’s not a prescription for innovation, yet innovation is critical to science.

At MedImmune, there is no getting away from the science—we’ve brought it directly into our renovated workspaces and have made it central to our design. Throughout our spaces you’ll see colorful photography and artwork of actual science coming from our labs; microscopic images of proteins and antibodies, and icons related to each of our therapeutic areas.

And, where does the impact come in? Our goal is to remove barriers between people and allow greater, easier interaction to occur naturally. As a result, we aim to get people together and speed up opportunities for innovation to occur. What we’ve seen is a boost in collaboration and productivity, and an even greater spirit of scientific inquiry than ever. At its core, science is about discovery through collaboration and perseverance. What we’ve been able to achieve through an efficient, flexible and creative workspace design supports and inspires this—whether we’re talking about our leadership, our researchers, or our support and administrative staff.

Beyond aesthetics and function, we’re also more wired than ever and have brought even more technology into our working spaces including high-definition plasma screens in every meeting room and multiple monitors. And, then there’s the fun stuff: Pool, ping pong and foosball tables, a Zen garden and arcade games that allow our folks some “playtime” to unwind and interact. We’re mostly scientists here, after all, and what science tells us is that play is as essential as breathing—even for working adults.

After years and months of planning to evolve our ways of working, the positive feedback we continue to receive from employees is very gratifying. We understand that everyone works in different ways. The new workspace provides a variety of space to support every need. While change is difficult and there are always challenges and concerns, this was a cross-organizational endeavor. That support, commitment and internal collaboration made it work—and now the work is speaking for itself.

Do you see yourself in our innovative environment? Learn more about a career at MedImmune here.