Open plan versus private office the debate continues. It’s likely safe to say that we will end up with some composite of open and collaborative space while maintaining some private offices.
A recent Biznow article describes components of the latest emerging office design trend, dubbed, “activity-based office design”:
The latest model acknowledges that companies may have saved money establishing an open concept floor plan, but in most cases, they did not drive the innovation and collaboration desired. To combat this problem, current designs include areas such as team spaces with standing tables, comfortable couches and movable walls to encourage team meetings and collaboration. The activity-based office design also provides private spaces such as soundproof phone booths or isolation rooms in order to account for moments when intense concentration is needed, or when a confidential conversation needs to take place.
Office tenants are using their space far different than years past. In some, but not all, cases employees no longer have an assigned desk. They simply check in and grab space that is conducive to the task they need to perform that day. This would include a phone room for a call with a client or a table for an internal team meeting.
Efficiency, convenience, a great neighborhood and something “cool” that goes above and beyond for our tenants…[many contemporary office developments]…have flexible conference and events facilities with outdoor access to accommodate corporate gatherings. This maximizes the amount of productive square feet within a tenant space and minimizes the need for a large conference room, ultimately increasing the number of employees that a space can accommodate.
On-site amenities provide a company’s employees with options for a balanced and productive day within their office building. Gyms, dry cleaning and terraces are now standard in many buildings.
Can modern office space be too open? Is this a problem plaguing today’s office space in Boston? Some say “yes,” and are migrating towards more private office space design.
According to a recent Bisnow article, “the open office model, which was originally designed to improve collaboration, created other issues, including increased stress on employees, who struggle to focus, and high demand on support spaces, especially conference rooms.”
Cool and creative office design can be found workdwide. Check out the top 16 according to “The Creative Workplace.”
“The big challenge with a lot of creative studios is that they started with a small group of people, and as an agency grows to 10 or 20 people, suddenly you have people with different creative processes,” [design writer Rob] Alderson says. Historically, he says, workplace culture has skewed toward extroverts, thus the Ping-Pong tables and wacky flourishes that have become cliches at tech companies and are supposed to encourage employees to interact with each other.
The cool office contestants have submitted their new digs. Please have a look and see how yours stacks up.
Bisow recently released its monthly reader pics, noting “It’s been a month since we asked for cool office space pictures, and the submissions have been coming in steadily—with about 95% of them cool (though we did get a pic of a cubicle farm, as retro ’80s as Ferris Bueller; it might be cool again in 20 years). Keep them coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The competition for “Tech Talent” is fierce and companies are pulling out all the stops to reign supreme. Employers are thinking far beyond just compensation to recruit and retain top talent, added to the list are:
Location: Employees are demanding easy access via the T, Bus, Bike, Boat or Walk.
Amenities: Employees want abundant food, workout and after hours options.
Space: The space needs a balance of “Me Space and We Space” to foster collaboration.
Employers are additionally asking their workforce to aid them in finding top talent by offering perks such as worldwide trips.
“This is what you need to do to be competitive,” said Cayan CEO Henry Helgeson, adding that the talent battle has forced him to rethink his recruiting strategy.
This spring, workers will put the finishing touches on the Cayan renovation, which has ditched the large conference tables and swivel chairs that typically populate office common areas in favor of barstools and high-set slabs more often associated with a pub. Helgeson says people think he’s crazy for that idea, but he wants employees to be eye-level to presenters in conferences to eliminate unnecessary hierarchies, he said. Innovative spaces like these prove to be a cost-benefit for attracting and retaining top talent in the long run. After all, recruiting firms take a cut of between 20 to 30 percent of each new hire’s salary, and those costs can easily mount into the millions annually for a growing tech firm.
Technology has changed our lives in ways many of us could not have imagined. The influx of this has required us to have a constant demand of charging systems and adapters. Nissan’s self-parking office chairs are a great example of cool technology, but I can’t imagine charging offices chairs along with my phone.
Ubergizmo posted the video (below) displaying the Nissan technology in which “simply by clapping hands together, office chairs will be able to self-park at their respective desks. This helps create a neat and tidy look, something that offices don’t typically look like at the end of the day when everyone is done with work and just can’t wait to rush back home for their dinner…According to Nissan, these are modified Okamura chairs that are tracked by four motion cameras mounted on the walls and are controlled by WiFi.”
Coworking office space in Boston by geographic location, courtesy of Xconomy:
Andy Palmer, a Boston serial entrepreneur and angel investor, ‘thinks Boston would be best served by a series of spaces spread among different neighborhoods along the subway system’s Red Line, which touches the city’s busiest startup hubs, including Kendall Square in Cambridge and the Seaport District and Downtown Crossing in Boston. And if you look at the map, that strategy seems to be playing out…Boston’s neighborhoods “all need good, solid coworking spaces because they all have startups and founders that want to do startups in these areas,” Palmer says. “It’s healthy to have these short-term lease options in every one of these areas.”’
Have a peak at what groups are doing with their new office space.
The BBJ posted a photo gallery of InsightSquared’s new Boston HQ, and notes the following:
The new headquarters, which InsightSquared cemented with an office-warming party last week, is a far cry from where they started in 2010. Back then, they were working out of a tiny space at Bessemer Venture Partners.
“It feels great to be here,” said CEO Fred Shilmover at the company’s office-warming party last week. “It feels like our first grownup office.”
InsightSquared is backed by $27 million in venture funding and employs 170, up from less than half that amount in 2014.