This Morning's Office Revolution!
Everyone’s been pushing the benefits of collaborative space, but experts at this morning’s general session say the pendulum is swinging back the other way. (Quick, everyone climb under those long tables. It's a makeshift cubicle!)
Cushman & Wakefield Boston managing director Rick Cleveland (right, with DFS Construction principal Grant Stephens) says it’s important to remember that office design is fluid. Along those lines, he says companies are realizing they’ve focused too much on collaboration/innovation and not enough on quiet places to actually execute. Herman Miller director Tracy Brower (of Grand Rapids, Mich.) says all design features need to be based on each company’s culture. But if that foosball table is never used, should you take it out, or should you tweak your culture to encourage its use?
Cassidy Turley San Francisco director Garrick Brown (here with Tracy) says the urban vs suburban debate is also fluid. Downtowns have been the powerhouses lately, as companies court Millennials who want that vibrant, dense environment. These days, we’re seeing 78% higher rents in walkable areas. But those employees will eventually get married and have kids, and we might see a rebirth in suburbia. (Hang in there, strip malls. We may not be done with you yet.)
Grant says that flow is also based on the economy. In his base of Washington, DC, he sees activity contract to the safety of the central city when things get rough. But in good times, companies start stretching out along the corridors again to places like Reston, Va. that also provide good resources and amenities. (You know the old saying we just made up: During recession, people rush in. During boom times, people cross border lines.)