Principal 750 Park

Des Moines, Iowa

Principal Financial Group has renovated each building in its downtown corporate campus as part of a multiyear, $238.5 million overhaul that began in 2013. The 750 Park (also known as the Z building) renovation opened in two phases, with one half of the building opening in 2014 and the other half in 2015.

The goal was to redesign many of the office spaces at Principal to better accommodate collaborative work, giving employees more spaces in which to work together while recognizing that workers continue to need places in which to work independently. The redesigned space also recognizes that workers come to the campus at a different rate than they used to. Only about three out of four Principal employees are physically in the office on any given day, and even when they’re in, many of them spend a great deal of time in meetings away from their desks.

Rather than being organized strictly by function or department, the spaces are designed as work “neighborhoods” that consist largely of unassigned work settings that employees can choose to work from. A worker might stand part of the day at a height-adjustable desk, move later to a meeting with a co-worker at a small drop-in meeting room, and later participate in a meeting in an informal meeting space equipped with couches and an interactive video screen display. The corporate real estate neighborhood, for instance, encompasses space for 70 employees; the only assigned desks are those used by the two administrative assistants.

Unique features:

  • Independent work chairs
    Principal has found that people often tend to like working near where other people are collaborating, even if they’re working on something independently.  So the redesigned areas include “Brody” chairs — nicknamed “the bathtub” by some employees — that provide a semi-enclosed space with an adjustable laptop holder that can be pulled up to the chair.
  • Art gallery
    The art gallery provides another space where employees can work and conduct meetings, or just get some inspiration. Different pieces are rotated in on a regular basis so that the space is always changing. Each building within Principal’s redesigned campus buildings will have an art gallery.
  • Informal spaces
    Informal seating areas between a grouping of conference rooms and the cafe, for instance, give employees a convenient place to go if they’re in between meetings. The work cafe’s coffee shop was purposely located next to this area so that employees can grab a refreshment quickly between meetings or on the way back to their work area.


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