DOWNTOWN – Walking through General Electric Co.’s new office space at the Banks is akin to having a front-row seat to corporate transformation.
GE’s office building, ironically, is office-free. There are dozens of different types of workspaces available from partitioned desks to huddle rooms and multipurpose spaces with telepresence capabilities to a rocking chair in front of a window that overlooks Smale Riverfront Park and the Ohio River.
Floor-to-ceiling windows on each floor are standard. A grab-and-go cafe, game rooms, fitness center, building-wide WiFi and a landscaped outdoor seating and dining area are amenities more commonly at startup offices than those for a 124-year-old corporate giant.
Yet the new building offers GE the chance to reinvent its image in the eyes of workers, many of whom are new to the company. Only 20 percent of GE’s workers in Downtown Cincinnati are internal transfers. At the same time, the company’s global operations division wants to reshape how GE does business around the world.
GE Global Operations was established in 2011 to streamline the company’s operations and accelerate innovation. The Cincinnati center joins three others currently operating in China, Hungary and Mexico.
Standardizing functions in finance, human resources, information technology, supply chain management, legal and sales operations and also co-locating people who work in those roles could help GE become more nimble, company officials said. On a third-floor wall of the building, passers-by can see GE’s goal of being the world’s foremost digital industrial company.