CBRE's New Office Design Is A Game-Changer
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CBRE is setting a precedent for what professional offices should look like for today’s workers. Through its innovative Workplace360 program, the company is transforming its offices into technology-enabled, paperless, flexible work environments.
“By rethinking how we allocate space and implementing a new level of service, we’ve been able to reduce our footprint, increase the variety of work settings and invest more heavily in the technologies and tools our people need to do better work,” CBRE Workplace360 program manager Cicily Dostalek said.
CBRE has completed about 24 renovations in the U.S. and 50 globally, according to Dostalek. Its most recent renovation was completed in Oakland, and its next San Francisco Bay Area renovation will be CBRE’s new San Francisco office in Salesforce Tower.
CBRE’s 10K SF Palo Alto office was the first in the Bay Area to undergo the Workplace360 transformation. CBRE moved to the fourth floor of 400 Hamilton Ave. in March 2016. CBRE’s San Jose office redesign completed July 2016. CBRE also has a revamped offices in Los Angeles, Toronto and Chicago. It will soon have a new Workplace360 office in Austin.
“In the offices where we have deployed Workplace360, employee satisfaction has gone up, as have daily attendance rates,” Dostalek said. “They are places people like to be.”
CBRE’s renovated offices typically include plug-and-play workstations with sit-stand desks and dual monitors, phone lines that allow employees to receive calls at any location through a mobile extension, wireless printing capabilities and multiple workplace types.
Employees are no longer assigned desks and have the option to sit wherever they want or next to people with whom they are working on a project. Staff can choose to book a meeting/conference room, a private office, a huddle room or work in seating throughout the office.
The offices also contain RISE cafés, which provide a full kitchen, healthy snacks and a big-screen TV. Employees have the option to join various committees to provide input on how the new office will look.
Since the Oakland office opened in March, CBRE East Bay managing director Trevor Thorpe has noticed increased collaboration and productivity.
“People are not confined to a particular space,” Thorpe said. “It breeds a lot more communication.”
Employees are spending more time at the office, socializing together during lunch and sometimes after hours, according to Thorpe.
CBRE previously was on the ninth floor of 444 12th St. and relocated to the 18th floor of 1111 Broadway. The biggest difference in the new office is the view of downtown Oakland, the Port of Oakland and the San Francisco skyline in the distance. The design of the Oakland office reflects the industrial market nearby. It has gray tones to embody the steel of the nearby industrial marketplace.
Comparatively, the 28,768 SF San Jose office incorporates images of circuit boards throughout to capture the essence of the tech community. Since this office is much larger than Oakland, workspaces are split up into four areas with each department assigned to a particular area. The workspaces are named after the seasons of the year and take on the color tone of that season. Each private room is named after a Bay Area site or city.
CBRE senior vice president Jerry Inguagiato, who works in the San Jose office, said he would previously lay out plans and documents on his desk. With the new office he has to clean up and tuck away his materials at the end of the day.
“But if that is the only downside, the upside is incredible,” he said. “The tools within our office add value.”
Inguagiato often uses the Liquid Galaxy screens to present clients and others with information about Silicon Valley’s data center industry, among other presentations.
He said he loves coming into the RISE Cafe, and he has seen more collaboration throughout the office. He also likes the sit-stand desks, and he said he feels better when he stands rather than sits all day.
While Workplace360 is CBRE’s own deployment, the firm works with clients through its Workplace practice to help them rethink their approach to space and the workplace experience.
CBRE uses data-driven research and analysis and organization and business goals to provide opportunities to reduce and/or reallocate costs, more effectively manage resources, improve employee engagement and make decisions faster, according to Dostalek.
Workplace360 also can provide an example of a new way of working for clients and the broader business community.