Why Office Homes Will Make Home Offices Obsolete
Forget work/life balance. The workplace of the future is all about work/life integration.
CBRE senior project manager Erin Schultz (left, with colleague Kim Swift), a panelist at yesterday’s Bisnow Workplace of the Future event, is affiliated with Google, the poster child of the dynamic office that attracts and retains employees. That’s largely because they focus on families and amenities, she says. By bringing spouses and children on campus for dinners and dentist visits, they keep their employees connected to their brand and tied into the community. Google also is very interactive, and makes its employees feel heard.
Dartmouth freshman Jeff Fastow and High School for the Performing Arts junior Gina Cook joined us for a fascinating discussion on Gen Y and Gen Z's workstyles. (What better way to figure out what future employees want and need than to ask them directly! We snapped them here with Sema Connect’s Anup Parikh.) Both say that quiet alone time is actually detrimental to their productivity. Gina says hustle and noise around her give her energy and help her focus. Jeff prefers to work in a hipster coffee shop (Starbucks gets boring, and he falls asleep if he works in his dorm)—it’s an alert environment, he says, and he can walk around and meet people, or put on headphones and focus.
Both teens say they never make phone calls—they’ll text for rapid communication (Jeff says every moment is precious, so he wants to get his message across and move on), or they’ll video chat to have an in-depth discussion with facial expression and nuances. TechKnowledge CEO Dave Jacobs (right, with Howard Hughes’ Peter Doyle) predicts the result: Phone equipment will be gone from offices in the next five years. He says there’s already technology to link cellphones to office systems, and he’s been surprised by its slow adoption.
Get familiar with DAS (distributed antenna systems)—MCA Communications president/our panelist Ricky Cortez says it’s catching on, and it’ll replace your phone system. He says 80% of calls from cellphones are made from inside a building, so landlords need to provide flawless service and functionality. And we need to keep up with capacity—there are 8 billion devices today globally, and that’ll skyrocket to 75 billion by 2020. Here’s Ricky with Caderra managing partner Larry Horning, who took the reins again this year, choosing panelists, designing the stage and moderating our first panel.
We got peeks into wild innovations that may be coming down the line—Steelcase workplace consultant Chris Laderer says productivity is all about shifting between collaborative and quiet modes. Neurotechnology is looking at building rooms that can analyze your brainwaves to see what mode you’re in, and change your surroundings to make you more productive in that state. (It might recline your chair or bring up the lights, for example.)
Morris Architects VP Melanie Herz Promecene (here with Gina, her niece) says offices are going beyond multi-use to be multi-sensory. Europe is taking a page from 1950's car manufacturers—some companies are infusing scents into offices. You can use aromas to create emotions in your space, and to build your brand and culture, she says.
PDR principal Lauri Goodman Lampson (far right with Knoll’s Andrea Parker and Noble Energy’s Caryn Ogier) discussed one big challenge to designing the workplace of the future—new technology, individual control and amenities all cost more per SF. Our panelist says it’s important to consider business metrics over construction metrics—putting in those extra dollars will pay major dividends in future productivity and earnings. Larry pointed out another challenge: You need to consider five generations when you’re designing your office.
Want to learn more? Check out this page Larry created, where we've got info from a deep two-hour interview with our teenage panelists, and a bunch of white papers on office trends!