AARP Headquarters

A More Flexible, Efficient, and Cost-Effective Headquarters.

business Model Transformation

The Opportunity.

AARP is one of the largest membership organizations in the world, leading positive social change and delivering value to people ages 50 and over through information, advocacy, and service. AARP was looking for a more efficient, flexible, and cost-effective space to better align with their mission, spur innovation, and support future goals. As an AARP leadership team member pointed out: “We are trying to build a space that takes us into the future.”

business Model Transformation

The Process.

To find how to best support these goals, AARP underwent OPX’s IOE assessment, revealing five main objectives for the new headquarters: the space should encourage collaboration, interaction and communication; create flexibility to change; encourage & accommodate innovation; create a more effective workplace; and maintain focus & commitment to the mission. AARP also engaged in our Transformation Leadership (TL) process, assisting AARP in communicating the project’s potential and shepherding the staff through the transformation.

The complexity of the project necessitated a renovation-in-place approach. OPX determined the best way to accommodate the work in a continuous, multi-phased process in which no employee was moved more than twice. OPX provided options that examined multiple physical and operational scenarios for how AARP could operate differently. These were evaluated against AARP’s strategic imperatives, decision criteria, and design attributes in order to determine the best solution going forward.

One of AARP’s major goals was to utilize the ground level more efficiently with amenities spaces dedicated to its employees and members. This technically and operationally challenging effort involved constructing a new main entry to the building. Amenities spaces include a coffee bar, fitness center, cafeteria, IT help desk, conference center, and an auditorium, providing employees with informal gathering, collaboration, and problem-solving areas to make their daily work more effective and rewarding.

The Impact.

The project began with a business case study and ended with an on-schedule and on-budget renovation completed in three years, all while maintaining full business operations and building systems.  

Through the IOE analysis and TL process, OPX was able to understand AARP’s guiding principles, mission, culture, and work processes, resulting in a successful and cost-effective implementation. OPX provided AARP with both high-level and granular analysis of its existing real estate conditions and operating environments. Our unique gap assessment tools allowed our team to understand the critical areas of improvement and aligning AARP’s operating environment with its strategic objectives. The final design direction addressed the goals of flexibility, interaction and collaboration, sustainability, work-life balance and real estate efficiency.  The TL process assisted AARP in communicating the renovation’s potential and guiding employees through the transformation. Subsequent client reviews and surveys have all proven the outcome to be overwhelmingly successful.

The renewal of AARP’s headquarters from a dated, inefficient, and inflexible work environment to an energetic, light-filled, and efficient space resulted in a more engaged, productive, and dedicated workforce.


“OPX created solutions to meet or exceed every goal, on time and budget.... the new work environment and its multitude of new spaces are utilized as intended…[and has] eliminated ~$8M in annual operating expense. [OPX] does whatever it takes to achieve and exceed expectations.”

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