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The Evolving Global Workspace

Contribution from Jean Chandler IIDA, NCIDQ - Assoc. Principal STUDIOS Architecture -

On February 23rd, Hafele hosted the LMNOP CEU accredited workshop that discussed the changing requirements that have affected the workplace.  Hafele’s showroom, was filled with A&D professionals representing every aspect of our industry ready to learn how our workplace has evolved to what we know today.  Dan Chong, Allermuir’s VP of Sales and Marketing, and Keith Cooper, Regional Sales Manager for Allermuir North America, presented an enlightened evolution of the workplace that has taken place since the 1950’s.

Doing more with less
Dan pointed out that in 1950, the typical office allotted 600 square feet per person.  In 2015 this number was closer to 180 feet and in some cases even less.  More and more, workers are doing their jobs from a remote location.  He compared modern workers to college students, doing good productive work without someone demanding they do it in a certain place or in a certain way.  Workers are logging hours in airports, cafes, hotels, home and even outdoors.  Increased virtual connectivity has made working from these locations just as valuable as from the workplace.  Dan talked about how the unpredictability and texture of these unexpected spaces could really start to influence creative thought and innovation and in theory make the work people are doing better than work done in a stagnant office.

The forecast calls for more change
People are integrating the latest technology into their personal lives at lightning speed.  The adaption of technology is happening on a personal level and BYOD's (bring your own device) are being used at work.  Constantly changing tools are influencing process, workstyle and products like never before.  When work flows change to support the nuances, efficiencies and innovations these tools provide, the environment must be flexible to support the unpredictability of today’s work landscape.

Workplaces host 5 generations of people currently in the workforce.  The outlook on technology varies from skeptical to dependent.   The meaning of a job varies from “jobs are for life” to “career multi-taskers”. Bridging the generational gap is a blended approach between the built environment and office cultures to support an atmosphere that breeds collective successes for all.

The push for more
5 key points to achieve an epic workplace are as follows:

  1. Optimize real estate
  2. Enhance collaboration and concentration
  3. Attract develop and engage
  4. Build brand and culture
  5. Environmental and social sustainability.

In a world with constantly increasing pressures on budgets and schedules, these objectives are almost insurmountable. Dan scored points with the audience when he stated he understands how frustrating it must be as architects and designers to nail all of these points, on time and on budget. Project schedules are always fast tracked, and the bottom line is always looming. The shelf life of a build out does not coincide with the investment cost due to an ever-changing technological element.  Designers have to push creativity to the limits to integrate flexibility and advancements into workplaces in order to maintain their relevance in the years to come.

Michelle HillComment