Presented by: Mann Report, November 1, 2018

Author: Heidi Hendy, Managing Principal

Ready to sign a commercial office lease that will extend the next seven to 10 years or more? Consider this before you do: by 2025, millennials—a generation of digital natives who value collaboration and creativity—will make up two-thirds of the workforce and assume leadership positions. In that same year, more Gen Z’s will comprise our workforce, a group that requires ongoing technological solutions and devices to work efficiently and productively.

Companies gearing up for the workplace of tomorrow realize the need to optimize their office space for this talent pool. They are doing so by incorporating intuitive technology and activity-based work spaces that are tailored to employees’ daily functions and workstyle preferences. These offices go beyond a cool, hip vibe or open floor plan with vibrant colors and aesthetically designed finishes. Rather, it’s a purpose-driven, stimulating environment that supports an organization’s process and function. A sustainable office that unites people and ideas. A space that focuses on core migration patterns rather than individual areas. A tool that drives (and retains) a company’s most valuable (and expensive) asset: its people.

Three critical elements make up a successful creative performance office:

Technology Becomes the Engine: Designing a creative performance office that becomes a tool for business success starts with technology at the forefront of architectural design. When technology integration is nurtured early in the design process, rather than an afterthought, it serves to boost ideation and optimize individual and team work.
Technology integration also enables people to be mobile—to move away from their individual workstations so they can work where they feel most comfortable, and productive, doing the task at hand. When technology is the engine, people can flow through the workplace with constant access to the information, systems, and tools they need to be successful. Each workstation should function like a light switch, enabling employees to operate the space with little training or intervention. When done right, technology is a smooth-running engine that enhances productivity and team collaboration.

Let Health and Wellness Be the Hallmark of Your Business: People today spend nearly 90 percent of their day in the built environment, which significantly impacts our happiness and well-being. As a result, employers that create better work environments engender healthier workforces. Consider developing a health-promoting office space that incorporates the WELL Building Standard®, a performance-based system for measuring features of the built environment that impact human health and comfort. For example, a WELL-certified space examines how lighting affects employees’ circadian rhythms and adjusts lighting structures accordingly to maximize health benefits. For “movement,” businesses are encouraged to implement spaces throughout the office that promote activity and motion, such as stand-up conference rooms, in-office gyms, and access to exterior spaces. These spaces create opportunities for employees to move freely throughout the building.

Reassign Purpose to the Workplace: With our workforce becoming increasingly mobile, it’s time for businesses to reconceptualize the purpose of the workplace. This practice begins with integrating spaces that meet the needs and workstyle preferences of today’s diverse talent. Consider implementing a mix of closed focus rooms and quiet zones for enhanced concentration; on-demand workstations to optimize team interaction, learning, and training; and large, open collaborative workspaces to foster teamwork and ideation. Myriad workspaces enable businesses to right-size their workplace footprint and unlock employee potential through an effective use of space. It also creates an environment that’s not just a place to work, but a destination that has necessary tools and resources to get work done.
An office lease is a big expense for any company and can cost companies even more long-term if the space is not built to successfully support an organization’s process and function. As the workplace continues to evolve, office design will need to be versatile to meet the needs of its current staff and tomorrow’s hybrid and mobile workforce. By reassigning purpose to the workplace, infusing workstations with modern technology, designing spaces where employees can do their best work, and creating an environment that bolsters health and wellness, businesses can create office environments that become strategic tools for business success.