As Boston-area companies sort their way through return-to-office plans, PUMA has a distinct advantage: a newly-minted headquarters in a 14-story office tower that includes perks ranging from a rooftop beer garden to a playing court atop the parking garage.
“We’re fortunate to have a new home at a time where we’re trying to get employees back to the building and collaborating again,” said Bob Philion, president of PUMA North America.
PUMA was originally scheduled to occupy the building in February, but COVID-19 disruption to construction schedules pushed the initial move-in to July. Since Labor Day, the company has adopted hybrid work schedules in which most employees work in the office three days, Philion said, although individual schedules are at the discretion of department managers.
“We’re still a product marketing company so we have tangible products you can touch and feel, and that’s an important part of the business. But we’re also making sure we maintain some flexibility,” he said. “Opening a headquarters during COVID, we’ve learned a lot.”
COVID also prompted PUMA to make some changes to its tenant fitout on the fly, upgrading audio-visual equipment to accommodate a mix of remote and in-office meeting participants.
The impetus for the new location was to consolidate PUMA’s two Bay State locations, including its marketing division at 33 Arch St. in Boston and its North American headquarters at 10 Lyberty Way in Westford.
A large contingent of the company’s local employees live slightly north of Boston, Philion said, shaving commutes for those who drive to work while maintaining transit access through MBTA’s Assembly station.
PUMA occupies the seventh through 10th and 13th floors of the tower along with use of the rooftop terrace, which will be built out with a beer garden. A basketball court is planned for a nearly half-acre terrace that sits atop the parking garage podium.
Designed by Gensler, the headquarters doesn’t include any private office space, favoring open format workspaces, huddle rooms and conference rooms. A connecting staircase equipped with casual seating is designed to encourage informal meetings between employees.
“One of the things we’re missing through COVID is those 10- and 15-minute collisions where people get things done, rather than setting up a Zoom call for 30 minutes or an hour,” Philion said.