Say Goodbye To The Cubicle, Hello To Modern Offices
Is the modern office, with its emphasis on flexible workspace and technology, a trend, or is it a seismic shift in how companies build out spaces? That’s what we asked some of the panelists at Bisnow’s 4th Annual Creative Office event, 7am Jan. 28 at 515 N State.
Crayton Advisors managing partner John Abell says what we’re seeing with creative office space is a lifestyle-driven, dynamic shift into how companies and individuals want to work in an office environment. John says every building in Chicago, from Willis Tower down, is driven by a need to fill space and is adopting open floor plans as a tool to attract younger tenants. But the courtship goes beyond the office. John says building owners need to step up their games and provide unseen amenities like rooftop decks, and utilize tech ranging from WiFi throughout buildings to tech screens in lobbies. These are visually enticing amenities driven by creativity, social connection and innovation.
Sonoma Construction president Jon Runquist II says Chicago, recently dubbed “Silicon Prairie,” is now being recognized as a city where the rules garnering "traditional" office space have been tossed. Chicago's group of ultra savvy developers has created an atmosphere that has drawn the country's most cutting-edge tech firms, which are, in turn, battling for unique identities and corporate cultures by creating one-of-a-kind office spaces. In an effort to stand out and attract qualified talent, they battle to one-up competitors. Combine that with a market that contains, arguably, the industry's most prolific group of architects and contractors, and you get some of the country's most creative office spaces.
ESD president Kurt Karnatz (right) says office space finishes have dramatically changed over the past eight years. Kurt says 75% of costs in a typical office fit-out used to be allocated to hard elements: walls, paint, etc. Today, 65% to 75% of those costs are related to tech and mechanical-electrical infrastructure. This indicates tech is more ubiquitous (and expensive) and helped drive the need for reclaimed materials. Kurt says ESD thinks about tech and the ubiquity and availability to work anywhere. Developers are listening closely to tenants who want tech-focused buildings that improve efficiency to facilitate a seamless transition from home to office, such as digital credentialing for employees working in an office building.
R2 Cos CIO Max Meyers says his company is focused on building a community within an office environment. Its ongoing developments in Goose Island are near where tenants' employees live and allow them to stay inside the office building. Companies are subsidizing lunches to keep workers closer to their desks, a trend Max believes will continue.
Nelson principal Gary Miciunas (shown here giving his presentation, "The Rise of the Destination Workplace," to Nelson employees in Boston last year) says the successes of co-working spaces like WeWork are part of a bigger trend making corporations and tenants cognizant of flexible work environments, utilizing space more efficiently, and attracting and retaining talent. Lease agreements have shifted to allow more user-controlled build-outs—landlords have moved to offering tenants allowances to spend how they want in their spaces. Workers want to write and record on every available inch of space, and they want more glass, which not only allows extra daylight in an office, but makes for a more transparent office environment. To learn more, please attend Bisnow’s 4th Annual Creative Office event, 7am Jan. 28 at 515 N State. Register here.