What impressed me most about the Milwaukee School of Engineering campus wasn’t the physical spaces or buildings, but rather the location of the President’s Office. It was prominently and visibly located overlooking the student dining area, thereby conveying a powerful message about the school’s culture.

Most leaders are tucked away in the corners of an administration floor, far from the interactions with mid-level employees, let alone customers. But this design chose to place the president adjacent to the student hub where they could be reminded daily of who they were serving.

Think about what the location of your offices says. Are the leaders positioned so that they have occasional and chance encounters with others who aren’t part of the hierarchy? Does the floor plan create unnecessary divisions and reinforce status differences? Could morale and interaction be improved with a change in proximity? Don’t underestimate how location serves to communicate culture.

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