Dr. Marc Harrison: So good morning. Today I’m with Natasha Green, a marketing communications specialist for our HR team. Thanks for joining me Natasha. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? And I'd love to hear your question.

Natasha Green: My name is Natasha Green. I joined Intermountain Healthcare in May, and that came after three and a half years of trying to join this organization. I've wanted to work for Intermountain since I was a junior in high school as a communication specialist. I graduated with my degree from SUU, got a job down there, met my husband, kept applying for jobs with Intermountain, kept getting denied. I didn't have the experience. I got a shot with the HR communications team and I've been here for six months and I'm loving it.

Dr. Marc Harrison: I'm glad you're loving it. Can I ask you why you really wanted to work with us?

Natasha Green: When I was a junior in high school, I went on a humanitarian trip with another communication specialist who worked for Intermountain, who's actually still here. Dane DeHart. And he and I, we went on this trip with a whole bunch of other students and I really admired his passion for what he did. I admired the company, I admired just everything that he had to say about what he did and the difference that he was making and the difference that Intermountain was making. And so ever since I crossed paths with him, I thought, you know what? I love people. I want to be a communication specialist. And nine years later, here I am.

Dr. Marc Harrison: Well, that's awesome. And I love people too. And one of the things I really love is that everyone's got a story.

Natasha Green: They do.

Dr. Marc Harrison: And it's really interesting to hear your story and I'm really impressed by your persistence.

Natasha Green: Me too.

Dr. Marc Harrison: Do you feel like you're getting to make a difference here?

Natasha Green: I can honestly say that in the six months I've worked here that I have made a difference.

Dr. Marc Harrison: I'm sure you're making a difference and I really think our caregivers deserve colleagues like you to help them because they work really hard and I think we really work hard to provide them with a great environment so they can express their talents. And I'm just glad that you persisted and you're on board. It does feel good to be able to look at your ... To get up in the morning and know you're actually going to go do a job that is going to help another person. And how fortunate is that, right?

Natasha Green: And I'm doing a job that I've worked towards that I really have wanted and I've reached that goal and I plan on staying here for a long time and helping the organization. Now I'll launch into my questions because it kind of ties into that.

Dr. Marc Harrison: Yeah. Let me have it Natasha.

Natasha Green: So more and more of our non-clinical work facilities are moving toward open floor plans. This means smaller cubicles or no cubicles at all. Low walls and for some the volume of conversations or distractions from being in an open floor plan could hinder work efficiencies and concentration, possibly leading to high stress and lack of privacy. So I actually submitted my question to you after a very frustrating day in the office where I felt like I couldn't get my focus to stay even with my headphones in and I really wanted to finish my project and I fired off my question. And here I am.

Dr. Marc Harrison: Here you are.

Natasha Green: So I just want to know what your thoughts are and I know that the KeyBank Tower is undergoing renovations right now and more open floor plans and less office space. So I want to know your thoughts.

Dr. Marc Harrison: So certainly one size doesn't fit all. And there's no office floor plan that meets everyone's needs. So you know that I got rid of my office?

Natasha Green: Oh, you did?

Dr. Marc Harrison: Yeah. I was deeply frustrated by… I love my team. They work really hard. They're honorable, thoughtful people. I hated all the closed doors and I found that I was needing to make appointments with my own team to talk about something like a week out. And we had an experience where we were at a retreat and in between parts of the retreat we worked together on regular work stuff and we got so much done by just sort of morphing into small groups and having a moment together, then go off and doing something else. And then coming back it became apparent to me that it was time to actually to renovate this floor.

Dr. Marc Harrison: It needed to be done for all kinds of reasons. And we talked and we decided and I pushed. So let's just get rid of our offices. I said I don't need an office. I need a privacy room on occasion where I can go and have a conversation with somebody or make a phone call that I don't want everyone to hear. It's been fantastic. Now I can appreciate what you're saying. And I think from what I read and what I understand, having good open office hygiene in terms of having cues that you respect in another person like headphones or earbuds or a sign on your desk and just like, "Leave me alone. I'm doing my project.” Which is really important. And having adequate engineering so there's the right kind of white noise and ventilation, really important. Having adequate number of conference rooms and privacy rooms. Very important. But net, the experience is generally that more good happens than bad. So those are my thoughts. Is that crazy or…?

Natasha Green: No. I think that I actually appreciate the fact that you don't have an office because that shows all the rest of us that are getting used to these open floor plan spaces that our CEO also doesn't have an office and he's hanging out with everybody else too.

Dr. Marc Harrison: I can say I'm a really a regular person?

Natasha Green: You're a regular person. So you mentioned privacy rooms. Are there plans to add in more privacy rooms to some of these open floor plans that are being renovated? Are there opportunities?

Dr. Marc Harrison: I can't speak to the actual architectural plans. But that's certainly a question that we can ask and I know that the floors that are getting renovated here in this building. Are along the same lines of what we're using. Actually, one of the other things that's been really nice is, we've sort of made an unofficial rule on our team, no eating at your desk and we have a small break area and now we eat together and that's a powerful thing too. That's actually a really nice thing.

Natasha Green: Like a big old Intermountain family dinner, family lunch.

Dr. Marc Harrison: Actually we bring food in occasionally so that there's a group lunch as well. It's good.

Natasha Green: What suggestions do you have four teams on setting rules like that or having those initial conversations to set those boundaries. What advice can you give?

Dr. Marc Harrison: So the advice would be actually have a free and open dialogue, but also don't let it turn into a gripe session either. So, I mean, you must hear real legitimate concerns, right? Like ‘I had my headphones on, I was really trying to do my work and it just didn't work out.’ But I think, and I know you wouldn't do this, but wailing and gnashing of teeth doesn't help either. So I think having a really just kind of having that thoughtful, well planned conversation where one harvests ideas and then as a team, come together with an initial set of plans.

Now what we did was, we actually said, okay, we had sort of our rules for how the space would work. We then four weeks after we started, sat down again and said, okay, what were we wrong about, right? Because everyone makes mistakes. What really worked well?


And one of the things that we found didn't work well was we had restricted access to much to our area and so it was hard for our colleagues to come in and grab us. And so we have relaxed that. Still, we're thoughtful about security just like everyone needs to be. But we've relaxed that so that it's easier to find one another.


Natasha Green: Good.

Dr. Marc Harrison: Other thoughts? And you can tell everybody you want that I don't have an office, I don't even have a locker or a cubby or anything like that.

Natasha Green: Do you think that for some of us, for not necessarily me — I'm very outgoing — for some of our quieter colleagues in our nonclinical roles that maybe the open office space might hinder their great ideas just because of the noise and people walking by maybe distractions? I mean, do you think that the privacy rooms would work better for them or have we thought about maybe doing a commuter policy for working from home some days?

Dr. Marc Harrison: I think probably the best place to start is to have folks acknowledge what their personalities are like and then have them try and seat themselves in a place that maybe has a little less traffic. And we've actually had some folks do that up here. Not everybody on our team is completely outgoing and just give folks an opportunity to find their rhythm and I think it'll probably work out well. Nothing's perfect, but I think that process of starting, trying then checking back in what's working, what's not, and then having the modesty humility to say, okay, just stuff that works we'll keep, the stuff that doesn't work we'll start again and keep trying.

So I just want to thank you for in your moment of frustration firing off this question because now I get to meet you and have this great conversation and thank you for all you do for Intermountain. I really appreciate. I'm glad you're on the team.

Natasha Green: Well, I appreciate you taking the time to actually respond to caregivers and show that you are a real human being, that you just want to hear what we think and you actually take a vested interested of it and I appreciate it.

Dr. Marc Harrison: It's my pleasure. Thanks a lot.