Designing inspiring and healthy workplaces

Written by Katie Loovis

As a healthcare company, we focus on how we can best support the wellbeing of patients, consumers, and our employees. We aim to create healthy, safe and inclusive workplaces where everyone at GSK can feel energized and inspired to realize their potential and help us meet global health challenges. And this means rethinking the physical structures where we spend much of our time.

Place matters to health

The old way of working – cubicles, offices, walls – doesn’t work for us anymore. Today, coming to work at GSK means entering a healthy, stimulating environment designed to encourage movement and collaboration (what we call “SMART working”). The essential component of our design is choice. Employees can choose where they want to work at any particular time throughout the day, with options ranging from quiet to collaborative and informal to formal.

In the US

We are at the forefront of workspace design with our four-story, 208,000 square foot, glass-skinned, double LEED® Platinum-rated building in the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

This building – one of the greenest in the US – is designed to transform the way we work. In place of individual offices, we have open workspaces with a variety of work settings that encourage collaboration and movement. A prominent staircase is situated in the middle of the atrium and is both eye-catching and convenient as it entices employees to walk instead of using the elevators. In addition, there are custom-designed sit-to-stand desks,walking work stations, an on-site gym for individual workouts or group classes, and a bike share program with 24 bicycles available for recreational use.

The design fosters a culture of health. In the café we serve fresh, healthy food and in the health clinic there is a registered nurse at the ready. Employees have access to tranquility rooms (technology-free rooms) for decompressing, interactive ergonomic assessments, and chair massages.

Our state-of-the-art building in the Navy Yard has helped GSK realize substantial energy savings. Within our first six months of opening, we realized a 30% decrease in energy use, 50% decrease in water use and a close to 90% reduction in paper use.

Ray Milora
Ray, Head, Workplace Design

From ‘SMART working’ to ‘SMART labs’

Ray heads Workplace Design and Change Management for GSK. He and his team led the design of our Navy Yard building, and their passion for creating inspiring, efficient, and healthy workplaces allows our people to perform and develop in a resilient way.

With the successful Navy Yard project under their belt, Ray and his team are taking the best-in-class “SMART working” design elements to GSK’s North American R&D hub in Upper Providence, PA for the creation of “SMART labs (PDF)” – modern, light-filled spaces designed for flexibility, efficiency, and collaboration, and enabling our scientists to focus on science. By engaging directly with our scientists on the design, we’ve created spaces to help us go further and faster in the research, discovery and development of new medicines and vaccines.

“Our workplace design for the Philadelphia Navy Yard site has helped transform the level of energy and engagement of our employees. We want everyone at GSK to feel energized and inspired. We are in the process of taking our industry-leading design approach to the labs and creating modern, collaborative, flexible research and development workspaces for our scientists.”

Ray, Head, Workplace Design

This article is part of a series on our responsible business in the US.

GSK US Corporate Responsibility

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