Knowledge

Creating a Modern Workspace

Mark Bacon

The workplace as we know it has continued to change and evolve as the needs of company’s and their employees continue to shift. Workspace culture continues to change and adapt to new needs from workers, and increasingly, studies tell us that employees who are happy in their workspace perform better, and are more satisfied with their jobs.  Giving employees options allows them to do their best in spaces that make them feel their best, while leaning on technology that increasingly allows them to work when and where they need to; sitting at a desk is no longer necessary to get their job done.    

Diversity of workspace and personal choice, then, has become imperative. The large, personal desk or enclosed office is quickly becoming obsolete in many workplaces; staff desire to be mobile, choosing their space to work on a given task. For instance, for an uninterrupted few hours they may choose a small conference room that provides that necessary isolation but the rest of their day may be spent sitting at a communal table with coworkers from other departments, or finding a comfortable lounge chair to send out emails. Hot desking is becoming increasingly common—that means employees can check out a desk each day to do their work but it doesn’t have to be the same work area day after day. In larger markets, real-estate costs are another driver. Rather than assigning desks for 100% of the staff, they can design for 70-80% capacity and use flexible workspaces to fill in the holes on the rare occasion they are 100%.  This reduces square footage requirements and furniture costs while recognizing that with today’s mobile workers, offices are rarely full.  

There is also a blurring of the line between work and home life. People want to work when it’s convenient for their schedule and the space needs to accommodate that need. Technology, too, has made this possible, allowing employees to work from most anywhere thanks to cloud-based solutions and accessible video chat and other conferencing tools. 

The designed solution shouldn’t be predicated on a defined style, either. Styles or trends come and go—just like fashion. Most of our clients don’t have the operating budgets to remodel everytime a trend changes. For us, it is more important we design a space that reflects the attitude of the company and is authentic to their brand—those attributes are more stable than trends. Most business owners desire a space that allows employees to produce great work while enjoying the environment as they produce that work. They are desirous of diversity and personal choice in their workspace. Materials and colors are chosen to enhance the working environment, uphold our commitment to sustainability and leverage the company’s brand equity.

Workspaces that Fit the Client

We’ve had the opportunity over the last few years to explore this diversity of space, and to bring new workspaces to life for our clients.

We recently completed the interior of Hudl’s headquarters, which features an indoor ‘arena’ complete with suspended scoreboard and jumbotron.

Archrival, a youth branding company, asked us to redesign their office. The staff at Archrival are encouraged to personalize their work environment so we provided a Wunderkammer, German for “cabinet of curiosities,” which curates the objects and artifacts staff collect.  

Warren Distribution, inside the newly renovated Burlington Mail Terminal building, utilizes the remnants of the postal service history in conjunction with inserting new workspaces to provide different types, sizes, and configurations of areas for staff to use.

Scooter’s Coffee National Headquarters, which is just finishing construction, features a translucent, illuminated facade to attract attention from Interstate 80 traffic along with diverse workspaces on the interior, complete with a town hall space for large staff gatherings and potential franchisees.

Creating workspaces that are suited to a company and its culture ultimately give them longer life and happier staff. Working with companies to determine exactly how to do that is one of our favorite challenges.