THE CHANGING OFFICE ENVIRONMENT

I recently read an article on the real estate website, GlobeSt.com, written by John Salustri. In it, he discusses the changing office environment. There were several points made in the article I felt would be good for you to know. Commercial space is trending away from the traditional office environment to more open, collaborative work spaces. This phenomena is not necessarily just in the tech world either, many types of businesses seem to moving in this direction. Are you thinking about changing your office space with your next lease? Do you want to try something different to increase productivity or just to modernize the feel of your work environment? If so, here are a few key points from the article to keep in mind as you think about the best work space for your company:

• think ahead; build as much future-tech into your space as possible, including a technological backbone that allows maximum flexibility for future adaptation

• even though telecommuting is still in vogue, a trend is for employees to come back to the office environment, balancing the ability to work remotely with the greater need for collaboration and interaction

• think about the various departments in your company, do some want a more open collaborative environment, and do others still look for a more traditional space? Some businesses may need both

• the office footprint per employee continues to shrink, instead being replaced by larger, more open space

• changing demographics of the work force; the millennials are more willing to embrace technology and have no frame of reference for the traditional status of the private office, whereas the older workforce may still be more comfortable with an office

It is definitely an interesting read that will get you thinking about how you want to conduct your business in the future, and how that will impact your office environment. Click on the link below to read the entire article. As usual, if you have questions about your current office lease or would like to discuss how to make yours a more productive office environment, please do not hesitate to contact me at 760-445-9908760-445-9908.

Thank you,

Brian Lukacz

Tech’s Impact on Office Leasing
By John Salustri, GlobeSt.com
LAS VEGAS-Greater digitalization, tighter cubicle spaces, more freedom for collaboration and the disappearance of the Baby Boom generation. All of these factors are changing the way corporate America works…and will ultimately impact how commercial office brokers and developers ply their trades.
So says Beth Campbell, principal and managing director in the local office of architecture and design giant Gensler. “People are signing 10, 15 even 20-year leases,” she says. “But how will the office technology look then? There is a challenge in this system.”

Campbell, who will be a featured speaker at the upcoming SIOR Spring World Conference here, says that she and her colleagues stress for clients that they build as much future-tech into their space as possible, including a technological backbone that allows maximum flexibility for future adaptation. They also recommend installation of the most forgiving open-plan architecture, walls that can be taken down and reconfigured quickly and with a minimum of cost.

The industry has talked for years about accommodating office workers on the move with such concepts as hoteling and telecommuting. Despite the mobility that today’s gadgets afford workers of virtually all stripes, these two trends are now seen not as solutions in themselves but attributes of a newer, larger trend. Namely, Campbell says, workers are actually returning to the built environment, balancing the ability to work remotely with the greater need for collaboration and interaction.

She notes that this need is both psychological and commercial. The more we stare at our devices, the more we need to see faces. And chance encounters in office spaces often lead to productive brainstorming.

The growth of those collaborative spaces answers a growing tenant demand for environments where people can both perform focused, individualized work as well as conduct impromptu meetings, what she refers to as “serendipitous moments. Telecommuting alone doesn’t embrace the collaborative office culture that many of our clients want.”

Even more introverted workers find the need for a gathering space and gravitate “to common areas where they can be around dialog and interaction.”

But one solution won’t fit all, and a growing challenge for brokers, she says, is to realize that not every department within a company wants or needs an intensively collaborative environment. Campbell urges brokers to get more granular in defining the needs of their clients, function by function. And of course, there will always be those service industries, such as law, where private space is the necessary norm.
For developers and owners, “60% to 70% of existing buildings have a center core,” says Campbell, “which is very efficient from a construction standpoint” but less conducive to the new trend in office design.

One solution for landlords and brokers alike would be to think outside the box, or at least outside the built space and consider other available spaces in the structure—or even the local neighborhood—where tenants with a more collaborative culture can migrate as the need arises.

But that might be unnecessary, given the incredible shrinking office footprint, with allotted cubicle space closing in on workers. In fact, Campbell notes that the standard in 2010 was 225 square feet per person. That dropped to 176 just two years later. “We’re projecting that it’s headed for 100,” she notes. And while the office itself is shrinking, the amount of that collaborative space, not surprisingly, is growing.
The changing office dynamic is being facilitated by a simultaneous change in demographics. As the older generation slips away, due to retirement or layoffs, the reality is that a newer generation is slipping in. This hip crowd, born with cellphones pressed to their ears, are more willing to embrace technology and have no frame of reference for the traditional status of the private office.

“Twenty-five-year-olds don’t mind three-foot-high workstations,” Campbell has found out. “But they want more lounge seating or high-top tables. Compare this to someone who’s 50 and is surprised that they won’t have an office anymore.”