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Commercial Real Estate

CRE Opinion: Creating an Experience-Based Workplace

While the focus in offices previously was about cost efficiencies and compression, the focus is now on creating inviting and vibrant work environments for office occupants.
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Today’s workplace is seeing an amazing change. This change is in response to a more complex business environment and the evolving desires of workers. While the focus in offices previously was about cost efficiencies and compression, the focus is now on creating inviting and vibrant work environments for office occupants. With five generations of workers in the workplace and each generation desiring different ways of working, the term “experience-based “ workplace has become important.

An experience-based workplace gives workers what they want most—choices of where to work, how to work, when to work, and mobility and flexibility. And an experience-based workplace focuses on how workers feel when they come to work, during the day and at the end of the day, after their work is done.

Change has permeated the workplace and research studies show that:

  • Group-based work is on the rise.
  • Organizations are less hierarchical and flatter than before.
  • Live/work/play is a driving force for young recruits and contributes to a more balanced life. Today’s new workers want it all within less than a mile.
  • Organizations are moving to fewer desktop computers and more laptops and tablets, and much more audio, web and video conferencing. Mobility and connectivity are key.
  • Organizations are moving to more workers in open workstations and a great percentage in open, unassigned, and benching stations.
  • Organizations are placing a higher premium on worker well-being, wellness, happiness, and enjoyment in the workspace.
  • Cultures are focused on innovation, productivity, and technology.

Today’s best workplaces focus on the experiences of those within the space. After all, the true test of a space is how you feel in it. The aspects of hospitality design influence today’s workplace making spaces more comfortable, more inviting and more engaging. The focus is to make people feel good at work. Space really does matter.

In our own experience through client visioning sessions, we hear the following desires:

  • Daylight
  • Flexibility
  • Engaging
  • Welcoming
  • Comfortable
  • Audible Privacy
  • Collaborative
  • Fun
  • Outside views
  • Ergonomic
  • Integrated technology
  • Nearby amenities
  • Functional
  • Choices

So how do we get there? It’s pretty simple. Today’s spaces will respond to the rapid rate of change, so long as they plan for people. When the needs of workers are valued, respected, and considered an important element of the workspace, positive change will result. When design is based on the individual experience, ROI, engagement, and innovation will follow.

Jo Heinz is a Dallas-based Principal at DLR Group / Staffelbach.

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