Back to the Office, Differently

March 30, 2022

Have you figured out how your office will look in 2022 and beyond?  Below is cool, quick article from Fast Company illustrating some of the changes happening in the office. Yes, they do mention some pretty big tech names, and we don’t all have the same construction budgets as Salesforce, but there are some great ideas that any business can implement.  I agree completely with the author’s idea that despite the headlines, the office will remain central to how companies do business in the future.

Locally in Phoenix, I’m up close, seeing tenants modify their office for tomorrow. Here are some examples:

A centrally located financial services firm ditched their inefficient space, cited within their project and finally got the key training/board room they had wanted for 10+ years.

A downtown group is completely redoing their entire space with an emphasis on the employee break area as a collaboration centerpiece. They are also being very intentional about the neighborhoods they are creating in the rest of the space, including outdoor shaded areas.  There will be no sea of cubicles for this firm.

Multiple companies I have seen simply change out old furniture with updated product. This  includes cool lounge seating or just different, unique shaped work stations.

And yes, I’m seeing more golf simulators incorporated into plans for employees and clients. There are lots of ways to entice people back to the office.

As always, call me if you would like to talk about your office, or the market.  We advise clients daily on their office needs and navigate real estate costs.

Andrew
602.954.3769
acheney@leearizona.com


Back to Work, Differently
BY NATE BERG | MAY 4, 2021


Months of working from the couch might have erased them from people’s minds, but despite the headlines about companies breaking leases and the rise of global nomads, offices are still central to the way many companies plan to do business going forward.

The office experience is likely to feel very different, though, as more companies adopt a hybrid workplace approach, with people coming in only on some days and working from home the rest of the time. However often they come in, many employees are going to be entering office environments that are dramatically altered. In some places, new design concepts are radically reshaping spaces and furnishings, resulting in plentiful collaboration areas, technologies that can guide the reconfiguration of desk layouts and conference rooms, and other more flexible, responsive, and adaptive features.

These transformations are happening now Companies such as Spotify, Salesforce, and the online identity-management company Okta have had redesigns in the works for months, and they’re all devising novel ways of making their spaces comfortable and seamlessly functional for people when they need to come into the office. Their innovations in a few key areas provide a glimpse of what your post-couch work life might entail.

Collaboration Space
At Salesforce, a 40% reduction in the number of desks is creating more room for collaboration, according to Michele Schneider, senior vice president of global workplace services. That means adding more booths, cafes, communal tables, couches, whiteboards, and mobile audiovisual equipment to allow teamwork to happen anywhere.

Floor-Plan Changes
To make offices more flexible, assigned desks are being reduced in number or fully eliminated as companies decrease their square footage or reconsider the footprint they have. Salesforce and Spotify are shifting toward floor plans with team-focused “neighborhoods,” with furnishings and spaces for both individual and collaborative work rather than a sea of desks.

Quiet Zones
Offices are often overwhelmed by noise. For a company like Spotify, where being able to listen is essential, this is particularly problematic. Some of the company’s new offices feature librarylike rooms divided by bookshelves, with individual laptop desks surrounded by acoustic paneling. “It’s a space you can go to when you need to nail down that presentation,” says Sonya Simmonds, Spotify’s head of workplace design.

Technology
Using sensors, badges, and analytics, Okta is harnessing data to track precisely how its offices are being utilized. “Think of it like a net over the top of the space,” says Samantha Fisher, Okta’s head of dynamic work. “Each of those data points tells a story about how a particular space or work point is being used.” If a conference room is under- or overutilized, they’ll know, and can adjust as needed.

Furniture
With hybrid work meaning that there will be a different office population from day to day, flexibility is key. More companies are adopting furniture that can be moved and reconfigured to accommodate a brainstorm or an all hands. At Okta’s San Francisco headquarters, outlet-equipped furniture enables workers to plug in wherever they choose to sit. ■

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