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‘Legit Next Level’: Employee First Impressions of New Columbus Campus

By Michael A. Bukach2021-08-26
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Employee engagement can make or break a company’s culture, and where people work can majorly impact how they work. As CoverMyMeds employees return to the office, our director of employee engagement explains how it feels to finally call the Columbus campus home — and why it means so much when local team members choose to work here.

Since CoverMyMeds opened its Columbus, Ohio campus doors to employees, my favorite thing to do is watch co-workers shoot hoops outside on the basketball court. It may sound silly, but that simple thing puts the biggest smile on my face.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I might’ve overlooked a detail like that. But after almost a year and a half apart, I’m sure I can speak for many CoverMyMeds employees when I say it’s good to be back.

Of course, in our new reality, a “destination workplace” can mean different things. At CoverMyMeds, we proudly support our fully remote workers, those who split time between home and the office, and those who prefer to work on-site every day.

That said, the new space is truly unique — it’s somewhere employees can show up and be their authentic selves. Our people are our most important asset, so we created every aspect of the Columbus campus with them in mind.

With a solid two months under our belt — employees have visited the office some 5,200 times since July — it seems like the right time to share a few of their first impressions.

Core values inspired inclusive designs

When someone first enters our Columbus campus, they’ll see one of two things: our “Be Yourself” growth mindset plastered in large, colorful letters on the wall, or our mission to help people get the medicine they need to live healthier lives.

Those two messages set the tone for everything we stand for at CoverMyMeds, and they’re also reflected throughout the building’s architecture. Because regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability — everyone is welcome here.

“I have Cerebral Palsy and require the use of a wheelchair,” said Cyle Brenton, an associate database administrator. “CoverMyMeds asked me to meet with the Culinary and Environments teams to ensure I’m able to utilize every aspect of the building, including the servery’s buffet plate slides and kombucha tap. I’m thankful to be part of a company that values my opinions and observations.”

We also worked closely with LGBTQ+ employees to incorporate all-gender restrooms and create inclusive signage throughout campus.

“We tried to balance the needs of people with disabilities, people who may or may not speak English, and the LGBTQ+ community, including people who don’t identify with the icon of a woman in a dress,” said Andy Orlando, product analyst and co-chair of QCrew, our LGBTQ+ employee resource group. “Regardless of a person’s gender or gender expression, they can use whatever facility feels right.”

Raymond Weaver, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) lead at CoverMyMeds, said these efforts were done to make the Columbus campus as emotionally and physically inclusive as possible — a point Bethany Osborne, pod lead of patient services, appreciates.

“As a new mom, returning to the office has been so welcoming,” said Bethany. “The wellness rooms provide privacy and amazing storage for pumping equipment. I feel empowered by my team as a working parent, and the new building is an extension of that support.”

The wellness rooms provide privacy and amazing storage for pumping equipment. I feel empowered by my team as a working parent, and the new building is an extension of that support.

Bethany Osbornepod lead of patient services at CoverMyMeds

Creating spaces for intentional collaboration

Beyond letting employees be themselves, an office also needs to enable high-quality work. In addition to adjustable standing desks, the building has 225 workspaces that employees can use, including private offices, huddle spaces, phone booths and focus rooms. And thanks to a special system, it’s easy to remember where everything is.

We color-coded each floor and gave the conference rooms fun names to match. On our BLUE floor, you’ll find the Smurf room. On MAGENTA, Dragon Fruit features a wraparound sofa for comfortable conversations and productive brainstorms. The entire campus is wired so employees can quickly connect with remote coworkers, as well.

“We wanted employees to instantly feel at home here, so we let them vote on the conference room names,” said Jared French, creative director at CoverMyMeds. “It was an easy way to infuse campus with CoverMyMeds-y character.”

Involving the local community in our murals

The new campus is located in Franklinton — a revitalized industrial area that’s just west of the Scioto River and downtown Columbus. The neighborhood is home to many artists, so it was an obvious choice to commission local creators to transform our blank walls into colorful murals that reflect the vibrancy of our surroundings.

Andrea Colburn joined CoverMyMeds as an account coordinator in May 2020, right after Columbus offices shut down due to the pandemic. She trained and worked remotely for 14 months, before her first time in the office on July 28.

“This place is legit next level,” Andrea said. “The building is colossal, yet warm and inviting — the windows and beautiful artwork feed my soul. My calves were sore from going up and down all the stairs. Mind you, I jog every day!”

The building is colossal, yet warm and inviting — the windows and beautiful artwork feed my soul. My calves were sore from going up and down all the stairs. Mind you, I jog every day!

Andrea Colburnaccount coordinator at CoverMyMeds

Being selfless is always the right thing to do

As if the stairs don’t provide enough exercise, the Scioto Trail is close by — a major perk for bike commuters. CoverMyMeds has 80+ bike racks on campus, and we are also working towards sponsoring a potential carpooling program in the future when it’s safe to do so.

“Sustainability has always been part of my life. When I was little, my dad moved my family to Clintonville to be closer to public transportation,” said Isabel Andrews, a clinical content associate and member of the Alternative Commuting and Environmental Sustainability (ACES) employee resource group at CoverMyMeds. “I’ve been commuting to work on COTA — the nearest bus stop is on McKinley Ave, a short walk to the office.”

To promote the proper disposal of trash, CoverMyMeds incorporated composting and recycling stations throughout the office, Elkay bottle filling stations to eliminate single-use plastic and electric vehicle charging stations in the parking lot. The building’s open-air balconies also feature wildflower gardens to encourage pollination.

“Walking, biking, busing, and carpooling to work takes time, effort and coordination — same with sorting through recyclables when you’re done with lunch. But in the end, the holistic benefits far outweigh the personal inconveniences,” said Isabel.

Walking, biking, busing, and carpooling to work takes time, effort and coordination — same with sorting through recyclables when you’re done with lunch. But in the end, the holistic benefits far outweigh the personal inconveniences.

Isabel Andrewsclinical content associate at CoverMyMeds

Where the Columbus campus is going next

The stay-at-home orders of 2020 reinforced that our employees can be innovative anywhere. Team members can still work from home and visit the office as they please, provided COVID-19 precautions are followed. And regarding events like CoverMyQuest, Culture Day and holiday celebrations — every CoverMyMeds employee is invited, no matter where they work.

Although ongoing COVID-19 restrictions have delayed plans for an official return-to-office party, CoverMyMeds is eager to open all four of our floors at full-capacity in the months ahead. In the meantime, our operations are running smoothly and we continue to see positive feedback from employee return-to-office surveys.

As a company, we’ve embraced many challenges throughout the years as we’ve outgrown our offices. With two new buildings totaling 418,000 square feet — with the second scheduled to open in 2022 — the new campus provides an environment in which employees can accomplish great work to help people get the medicine they need.

Take a virtual tour of our campus and see how our people influenced our plans by visiting our website.

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