Wight & Company moved into this space in 2004. We designed and built it ourselves! In fact, two of the architects involved in the design – Kevin Havens and Jim Mark – work in this office today. Our DuPage County home has space for 130 employees.

This location was chosen with the idea of connecting to nature. There’s an equestrian farm situated behind us, and the Oldfield Oaks County Forest Preserve is just down the road. We’re also conveniently located right off I-55, making trips to and from the city and surrounding suburbs quite convenient.

One notable feature of our building is its narrowness, which is a result of our pursuit of LEED certification and the requirement that natural light be available throughout the entire inside of the building. (Bonus fact: we designed the first building in the country to receive LEED certification!) We expanded the footprint for work and collaborative space with the addition of two patios. The ground floor patio spills out onto walking paths and a garden, spaces which have proven invaluable under COVID.

Finally, our building was ahead of its time in the inclusion of an open lobby that leads into the kitchen area. We wanted staff and visitors to have the sense of being welcomed into our home. This multipurpose space can be reconfigured by need (a theater curtain further sub-divides the space), and our intent was to make the space available to community organizations and schools in the area.

What makes your office space cool?

Wight’s office was sustainable well before that was the cool thing to do. Features like disposal bins for compostable waste, mindful materials used for desks and other office furniture, a bioswale for storm runoff and recharging of groundwater, car-pooling spots and EV charging stations in the parking lot: we’ve had these available at our Darien office for years, in some cases for decades.

We designed our space with an unwavering commitment to wellness in the workplace, both inside and out, with current and future staff in mind. You might catch a socially distanced employee meeting outside on one of our two patios. Or perhaps a colleague is taking a conference call – and getting some exercise in – on one of the foot paths behind the building. In the summer, you’ll find employees spending time gardening in the middle of the day, harvesting produce that then gets shared among the staff.

So, while we aren’t zipping around on scooters or sipping kombucha on tap (not that there’s anything wrong with either of those!), we feel our cool factor comes from being intentional and thoughtful stewards of the space we are fortunate to inhabit.

In today’s “new normal”, how is the office space working for you?

Amazingly, our Darien office has required few modifications for the era of COVID. Wight staff have always enjoyed spacious workstations, high ceilings, and excellent indoor air quality. We’re following CDC guidelines and keeping occupancy levels at 30% or less, with regular deep cleanings.

We’ve also gone a step further with our air quality, installing a state-of-the-art Bipolar Ionization filtration system that removes air impurities including viruses and bacteria. The technology can be retrofitted into existing offices and essentially charges ions that enter the occupied space and seek out and neutralize the contaminants at their source. Most neutralized particulates drop to the floor where they are no longer a threat to occupants. That added extra peace of mind has meant a lot to employees.

One positive aspect of the “new normal” is that we can take what we’re learning in our own office and turn around and share those best practices with our clients. We’re treating some of our new initiatives as labs of sort, testing out ideas, and getting feedback from employees on

what works and what doesn’t. Our clients have always looked to Wight as a leader in workplace sustainability and wellness, so now more than ever we’re able to say, “We tried X, Y, Z, and it’s worked out incredibly well for us. Let’s work together to make your space as safe as it can be under COVID requirements.