New North County Campus for Encompass Community Services


New North County Campus for Encompass Community Services

By Molly Lautamo

Part of the Encompass mission is to build on the strength of people working together to create healthy change in people’s lives and in our community. We have the potential to improve the quality of life of thousands of our county’s residents, but to achieve this, our 40+ programs must work together effectively to provide a seamless network of care.

Over the last year, Encompass has been working towards our vision of “whole person care” by improving the collaboration and communication between our many programs. We’ve opened up new avenues of internal communication and education online and have also created more opportunities for staff to come together in person. Additionally, we have envisioned an inviting and inspiring space where staff from different programs can easily gather to share ideas, solve complex challenges, and grow from each other - and this vision is becoming a reality.

In 2016-2017, several of our large, multi-year leases in the north county region are terming out. Encompass is using this timing to implement a strategic long-term plan for our service locations so that we can better centralize our agency-wide functions, plan and coordinate for more integrated services, and become more accessible to our clients. Part of this strategic plan includes consolidating some of our locations by signing the lease on a 17,900 square foot building at 380 Encinal Street in the Harvey West Neighborhood. This new Encompass North County Campus will be a dynamic, collaborative work environment providing the resources and space for Encompass employees to work together to effect social change.

Here’s what we have in store:

A flexible workspace for an evolving organization

We’ve worked hard to design the new building to fit the changing needs of Encompass staff and to support the improved delivery of our services to clients. The space has the flexibility to evolve over time as we discover the best ways to approach planning and delivering client services as an integrated, multi-program organization.

The space features an open floor plan with 50 permanent desks for those who daily support our programs, such as human resources, finance, and IT. No staff member will have an enclosed office in an effort to foster a culture founded on collaboration and teamwork. Staff can still hold confidential conversations in one of 14 privacy rooms placed throughout the building.

There will also be drop-in work spaces for mobile and field-based program staff, and space for agency-wide activities such as staff trainings, team meetings, and program incubation. The “incubator space” will give new programs a place to get on their feet before jumping into a lease. They will have access to all the resources necessary to set them up for success.

Bringing more Encompass employees together under one roof will ensure each program makes strategic decisions that benefit the organization as a whole, and help move social change forward in Santa Cruz County. It will also help ensure that programs don’t miss out on time-sensitive opportunities, such as grants or fundraising events, and will encourage innovation by allowing staff who normally only correspond via email to bounce ideas off one another in person on a daily basis.

The culture within each Encompass program is supportive, inclusive, and cooperative and we want this culture to extend between programs, strengthening our organization so that we can be more effective and have a greater impact county-wide.

Strengthening the collective impact of our client services

Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for clients to receive care, services, and support in a way that allows them to make a long-term change in their lives. Bringing together Encompass staff from different programs and providing the opportunity for them to work side by side, will help us to create an organization-wide continuum that will greatly improve our ability to serve the community.

Re-locating some of our team members to our Encompass North County Campus is only the first phase of our strategic plan to improve and expand our impact and ensure that there is “no wrong door” to our Encompass services. In the coming months, we will be revamping our most accessible north and south county service locations so that residents can receive effective care, no matter what program they reach out to first.

How one building can improve a community

As a large organization with so many unique programs and diverse services, we have the potential to solve some of the most challenging social issues facing our community, but first we have to remove the siloes between our programs, collaborate more, and give each other the support and the resources we need to succeed. We’re excited to bring our employees together in a collaborative space in north county, and we also have plans to create a similar space in south county. These spaces will inspire excellent, innovative work that will lead to new ideas for creating a healthy, safe community for everyone in Santa Cruz County.

Many of our program support staff moved to the Encompass North County Campus in June, and we are prepared to be fully operational by September. Stay tuned for an opportunity to tour our new location at 380 Encinal Street, Suite 200, or just stop by and say hello!

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