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The Yankee Express

Webster Five’s new corporate offices in Auburn a dazzler

The visitor entrance to Webster Five’s new corporate offices on Millbury St. in Auburn offers a welcoming atmosphere.

By Rod Lee
Like Reliant Medical Group, Karl Storz Endoscopy America Inc. and other commercial enterprises, Webster Five recognizes the town of Auburn’s value as a place to do business.
This summer, Webster Five finalized relocation of its corporate offices from Thompson Road in Webster to 35 Millbury St. in Auburn—just a stone’s throw from Karl Storz’s modern warehouse and office center at 28 Millbury St., which opened in 2019.
Not that far, either, from Reliant Medical Group’s impressive primary care and specialty care facility at 385 Southbridge St. in the former Macy’s Home Store in the Auburn Mall.
The result of  what Webster Five management calls “an extensive redesign of an existing 39,000-square-foot building” by Cutler Associates and various partners is nothing short of spectacular. In creating “an inviting and collaborative workspace for employees,” Webster Five not only consolidated more than one hundred team members from three distinct locations (Auburn, Webster and Worcester) into a single facility, it introduced to South County the most advanced corporate setting that can be found for miles in any direction.
There was understandable pride in Deirdre Gallagher’s voice as she gave a visitor a walking tour of the building the afternoon of August 28. Ms. Gallagher is the executive administrative assistant to Webster Five President and CEO Donald F. Doyle.
“There are thirteen conference rooms!” Ms. Gallagher said, maneuvering her way through the corridors. The main conference room can accommodate thirty or more people around a large table and is being named in honor of former Chairman of the Board Daniel Ivascyn “who was very instrumental in the vision for this building. He retired in 2020.”
The building “is all wireless,” Ms. Gallagher said. “We have this collaborative café, with outside seating,” she said, pointing out a large, spacious, comfortable dining area. “Microwaves, three big refrigerators! We have soft-touch door closings, everyone has white boards, there is a blue and green pattern, showers, a locker room, we have utilized a space-shuttle theme as a tribute to Robert Goddard with a  Goddard Room and a Christa McAuliffe Room, we have a wellness room for new moms (but others looking for moments of relaxation can use it too), we have moved our contact center here, we have this business banking area, a retail lending side.”
The use of glass in the remodel is extensive, allowing light to flood the building.
In a news item posted on the Webster Five website, it is explained that the relocation of the bank’s corporate offices was sparked by “significant growth over the past twenty-five years.” The bank’s footprint “now extends well beyond its original markets of Webster, Dudley and Oxford. As the bank approaches $1 billion in assets, modernization and centralization of its corporate space is essential to provide an outlet for continued growth. Webster Five’s corporate offices have been significantly enhanced, as the design of the new space fosters a strong sense of collaboration, creativity, and inclusion for employees throughout the organization.
“There will be no change to the bank’s branch footprint,” it was noted; “existing branches will continue to be important centers of activity and convenience for customers.”
In a statement, Mr. Doyle said “this consolidation gives us the opportunity for increased interactions between departments to enhance collaboration. The design of spaces was thoughtfully considered to create a unifying feel. While this move was planned prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are deeply conscious of the changes many of our employees have faced in the pandemic’s wake. We are aware that our employees’ family lives and schedules are still disrupted, so the transition back to full-time in the office will be gradual and our new space will accommodate a hybrid work model for the foreseeable future.”
Diana Fiorentino, marketing and communications specialist for the bank, told the Xpress that “all Webster Five back-office employees moved into the corporate offices at the beginning of June. The move went smoothly and we feel our vision of creating a collaborative, innovative and modern workplace has been fully realized. Our employees were very excited to move in, and (they) feel the environment that’s been created will help them to build efficiencies in their roles. They were also quite excited to see their coworkers in person after a large number of them worked remotely through COVID. When COVID rates were lower earlier this summer, we were able to host an on-site all-employee Partnership meeting, which allowed us the opportunity to gather all of our staff together and celebrate our new space.”
Bruce Varner, Webster Five’s mortgage loan originator, in explaining why he likes the new corporate offices, said “one of the best things about the new building is the abundant natural light and big, open work areas. When we need a smaller, more private meeting space, the conference rooms are perfect with lots of new technology that makes it easy to include others working off-site.”
Ms. Fiorentino said the bank has been flexible with its employees “on their in-office work schedules as we know that many of them have faced concerns with child care, obtaining their vaccinations, and other COVID-related issues over the past few months. We’ve established a hybrid work schedule for employees to help support them into the future, and we continue to keep an eye on the current situation and remain flexible based on the changing conditions we face.”
Ms. Fiorentino said the bank will be hosting an open house/ribbon-cutting ceremony in the future, an as-yet undetermined date. “We don’t have anything set in stone due to the COVID delta variant,” she said.
  The most common refrain heard around 35 Millbury St. in Auburn these days is “we love it!”
Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.