Professional spaces of today are being used in a manner that is directly catered to operations. As our methods of conducting business are frequently improved, this means office spaces are shifting alongside this enhancement.
Peter Fabris, contributing editor to Building Design + Construction, mentioned in a recent article that,
“Even though technology makes it easy for office workers to stay in touch with colleagues virtually, face-to-face interaction in the work setting is still prized. Many innovative ideas are born and refined not only during scheduled meetings but also at impromptu gatherings. So, while workstations are being slimmed down in number and size, space for meetings and informal interaction is growing. New office fit-outs provide attractively designed spaces of various sizes for in-person collaboration, including conference rooms for small, medium, and large groups. Small cafés, lounges, and nooks with comfortable chairs encourage informal interactions.”
While in-office interactions are a critical consideration in space design, the members of professional teams working remotely present a unique situation for office space construction/real estate costs. Remote access to workplace systems allows employees of many capacities to work the same way they would in the office, but at home where they don’t require company-provided work stations. This reduction in square footage requirement is translating to significant savings in lease agreements and wiser construction decisions based on organizational needs.
Ken Patrick, president of Boston-based Environments At Work, a provider/installer of office furniture and interior features, relates his firm’s experience relocating a local client. “We recently moved a biopharma company from Cambridge to [suburban] Waltham, and they will save $200 million in rent over five years,” he recalls. This is the product of both a square footage reduction, but also adjusting to a market favored to renters with that new size requirement in mind.
Trends we’ve touched on in previous blogs still remain relevant, and are worth recalling.
A focus on wellness is still a large goal being seen through in-office gyms, cycle-friendly offices, and ergonomics accommodations. The shift away from “cubicle farm” set-ups is becoming more prevalent and the use of vibrant colors and creativity-stimulating branding features is impacting employee work in a positive light.
Overall, when embarking on a new office construction project with these reactions in mind, it is important to focus less on the ‘trendiness’ of an office space, and more on the practical function of the finished product.