We spent a lot of time designing our ofﬁce with our vision always as our compass: to help local companies, governments, organizations, and individuals succeed globally via strategic, creative solutions”, explains Hani Khoja, Managing Partner & Co-Founder of Elixir. “The ﬁrst word, help, sets the mood of the ofﬁce character. Any person walking into Elixir must feel it is a credible company, which can help solve an issue they have,” explains Hani.
The entrance has a library for books to be rented by Elixirians and visitors alike. On the right side there’s what they call the “Wall of Fame” with various photographs with clients, many of which are well known ﬁgures in the business, government, and nonproﬁt sectors. There is also a bronze plaque with a pledge signed by all Elixirians, which promises to serve clients passionately, smartly, & ethically. As one approaches the receptionist, I am struck with the company vision clearly displayed on the wall, not only for clients but also Elixirians. “It’s a daily reminder of our main purpose. To help our clients succeed,”
Layal, the receptionist greets me with a smile and escorts me to the main ofﬁce, right behind her. The ofﬁce is one big room. No private ofﬁces. No closed areas. All Elixirians work together on a table centered in the middle of the room, which takes the shape of a long inﬁnity sign, the ofﬁcial logo of the company. “We picked the inﬁnity sign as a logo because it reﬂects the sustainable value creation we wish for our clients, and the conference table we all work on is a daily reminder of what we are striving to do,”
explains Hani. All Elixirians work on this table; regardless of experience or position. The open space design has been proven globally to promote innovation. “We purposely used an open space design because we wanted to maximize collaboration, innovation, and access. We of course have managerial levels, but that’s only on paper. We wanted to encourage an environment where the most junior member can quickly access anyone regardless of levels at anytime,” adds Hani. “The free ﬂow of ideas, questions, and thoughts should be maximized because we want our clients to succeed globally with strategic, creative solutions. Walls, whether real or psychological were not factored in the design,” says Hani. “Ofﬁces not only kill collaboration, but unnecessarily feed egos. Really, who needs an ofﬁce? I’d rather see the faces of my colleagues instead of 4 walls.” The ofﬁce follows a hotel system in which people working on the same project sit near each other. “Eliminating set places is liberating. I can work sometimes on the couch or overlooking Rawdah Street. The internet is wireless, so I am free to pick the spot I like based on my mood that day!” explains Wiam Hasanain, Consultant & Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Expert. Today, Wiam is working with Ahmed on setting the CSR strategy for a major Saudi retailer, so they are sitting next to each other. Yesterday, Wiam was next to Hannan agreeing how to upgrade the Elixir website.
We purposely used an open space design because we wanted to maximize collaboration, innovation, and access. We of course have managerial levels, but that’s only on paper. We wanted to encourage an environment where the most junior member can quickly access anyone regardless of levels at anytime,” adds Hani
Noise is not an issue according to Layal, because new members are educated from day one that voices should be kept low in the main area. Any meetings requiring normal voice levels are held in one of the side glass meeting rooms or a conference room for larger meetings. Any loud ringing mobile phones are punished with a SR 10 ﬁne that goes into a breakfast fund to be enjoyed by all; and, the carpet takes care of the rest of the noise.
Elixir, the company name, ﬁnds its origin in Arabic, and has 3 meanings. Firstly, the elixir of life is a drink that gives inﬁnite life. Secondly, elixir turns any material into gold. Lastly, elixir is also known as the philosopher’s stone and gives inspiration to anyone rubbing it. These magical meanings have been reﬂected in Elixir’s corporate identity, the ofﬁce layout, and colors. The walls are a funky purple with touches of black and gold inspiring a magical and creative mood. “Visitors are always surprised to see not only the open space ofﬁce design, but also the unconventional colors. It is far from being corporate, but we wanted the ofﬁce to reﬂect the healthy balance we strive for between strategic & creative solutions,” explains Hani. “Many of our clients prefer to hold meetings here instead of their own ofﬁces, because they feel our ofﬁce is more inspiring.”