Five Ways the Mobile Office is Changing Office Design

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The modern workforce is changing, with all signs pointing toward a future of remote workers and a level of flexibility never before seen in traditional offices. In fact, 68% of workers surveyed by PwC say they expect their work futures to include flexible hours and working remotely on scheduled days.

This new workforce will transform not only the atmosphere in work environments, but the physical workspaces themselves. With fewer employees coming into the office, some workers popping in and out throughout the week, and employers who are beginning to offer more flexible environments within the office, the modern workplace will transform accordingly.

Here are five ways that the increasingly remote and mobile workforce will create entirely new standards for office design.

  1. Designated desks are no longer the norm

The days of cubicles and assigned desk stations are finally coming to an end. As more office employees start working from home full-time or only come into work on certain days of the week, it no longer makes sense for employers to keep individual, assigned desks around for everyone.

Instead, the office infrastructure is transforming to include more collaborative workspaces and unassigned seating in order to better serve employees who float in and out of the office. In this way, employees can find the spot that best suits them on a given day, while employers can save money on space and resources. It’s also becoming more common to see multiple clusters of desks or tables for different teams in order to promote unity and collaboration amongst them.

  1. Incorporating more breakout spaces and lounge areas

While some people tend to work more productively in a traditional desk-and-chair layout, others feel better when they’re working from a sofa or bean-bag chair. That’s why offices are creating a new mixture of furniture zones that offer both laid-back and traditional seating options. This could range from collaborative tables for those who want to work in a more relaxed manner and socialize with co-workers, to soundproofed spaces or office pods for those who prefer to work alone or in silence.

Workplaces are also starting to take advantage of wellness initiatives to attract and retain their employees, such as the WELL Building Standard Certification, a relatively new program promoting office design that improves employees’ mental and physical health. Many offices now include “green” areas that bring the feeling of nature indoors, and wellness rooms where members can meditate, practice yoga, or engage in any activity that lets them take a break from sitting at their desks. These initiatives, combined with more relaxed furnishings, are creating drastic changes to the aesthetic of the modern office.

  1. Building smaller conference rooms

Traditional board rooms and conference rooms with tables big enough to host 20 people are another casualty of the remote workforce movement. Instead, smaller conference rooms that simply fit four to six people and a media center are quickly becoming the new norm for office meeting environments.

In this new mobile climate, many employees are starting to come into the physical office solely for face-to-face meetings with co-workers or to bring in vendors and clients for presentations. This means that employees are specifically coming into the office for access to these meeting rooms, and offices should be sizing those spaces accordingly.

  1. Technology that cuts the bind between office and home

When offices have more employees working from home — or even from other countries — it’s critical to have the proper technology to connect people together easily.

To do this, offices are using VoIP phones, which make phone calls through the internet rather than regular landlines, to help employees around the world appear as though they’re calling from the office. Making sure that all employees are on the same page when it comes to their tasks and team projects means meeting people where they are, whether it’s at the office, the home, or in a café, potentially anywhere on the planet.

  1. Smaller offices, smaller carbon footprint

There are huge bonuses, both financially and environmentally, to offices employing more remote workers. For employers, less people in the office equals less needed space—meaning they can save huge amounts of money by renting or building smaller office spaces, and by using less energy and water, lowering their utility bills.

For employees, the ability to work remotely means an erased commute, which in turn will reduce air pollution and help create a smaller carbon footprint. Of course, these changes won’t happen overnight. But as more companies begin to accept the idea of using a remote workforce, the corporate sector, just like its workers, will certainly see new benefits.

Portions of this article originally appeared on the Quartz at Work  website.

About The Sundance Company                                                      
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

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About The Sundance Company                                                      
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

Office Space Tenants Want More Technology

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Once upon a time, “office technology” focused on ensuring that a space had enough wiring to hook up phones, computers and other equipment. Tenants would design their spaces to their own technical specifications.

But, in this day and age, landlords and building owners are finding they have to provide telecommunications infrastructure — and even offer technology such as smart windows — to attract tenants. A recent article in the New York Times pointed out that, while location, access to transportation and floor-plate size remain the primary reasons tenants select spaces, beefing up tech provides a competitive advantage. Basically, landlords with state-of-the-art tech knowhow can command premium rents. But, those that don’t provide tech infrastructure as part of their packages might have to offer a discount.

According to CRETech, venture capital investors are taking note. In 2018, venture capitalists invested $9.6 billion in real estate technologies. So far, in Q1 2019, investments totaled $4.9 billion, a 250% year-over-year increase.

Such tech projects include the following:

DivcoWest’s Cambridge Crossing in Massachusetts offers 2.1 million square feet of office space. Underground, and hidden within the buildings, will be an estimated 10 miles of fiber-optic cable, meaning uninterrupted Wi-Fi everywhere on the premises.

The Durst Organization installed “smart windows” in an office pavilion topping a Midtown Manhattan building. The windows automatically tint when the sun is shining, eliminating the need for shades. The windows were supplied by View, a California company that manufactures “dynamic glass.”

MarketAxess’ headquarters, in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards, contains jumbo screens in every meeting space. Meanwhile, in the boardroom, equipment powering electrical outlets, data ports and jumbo wall screens is contained in a nearby walk-in closet. The office’s main data center is in New Jersey. Daylight sensors on windows dim office lights if the sun is bright, with window shades automatically going up and down, depending on the time of day.

Other technology using mobile apps or computer software (often provided by landlords) allows employees to research different gathering places before deciding where to set up meetings. The employees can check data on occupancy, temperature and daylight, then decide whether to head to a quieter spot to work without distraction, or a sunny side of the office, where others are already meeting. The data is also monitored by building operators to determine climate control, or the need for janitorial services in a particular area.

The downside, however, is a potential for security risks within digital offices, not to mention the specter of in-depth surveillance. Noted Arie Barendrecht with New York consultant WiredScore: “There are so many great benefits of a digitally-enabled building. There’s also a downside.”

Portions of this article originally appeared on the Connect website.

About The Sundance Company                                                      
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

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About The Sundance Company                                                      
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

Using Technology To Build Relationships in CRE

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Technology can greatly improve lives, whether allowing us to connect with people across the world through social media or buying products online and having them in your hands within days, but it also can cause deep distress among people about how it will change the way we’ve always done business. The internet has created a “direct-to-consumer” revolution and demonized the idea of a middleman.

In no case is this concern more prevalent than with real estate professionals. Commercial real estate sites like Zillow for residential or LoopNet for commercial offer prospective real estate customers the ability to browse and search for properties without the help of a real estate professional. The internet also offers an abundance of information on navigating the real estate process, information that not so long ago resided primarily in the minds of professionals. With tech giving the average buyer or lessee access to properties and a treasure trove of real estate knowledge on their phones, who needs a professional, right?

Fear not, friends. And as we all know; real estate is a relationship business and agents are much more than a middleman that marks up a product. Technology is great, but it can never manage human relationships like a real estate professional. According to Tanner McGraw, founder of Apto, a leading real estate CRM, technology won’t make real estate relationships less valuable. “While professionals are no longer gatekeepers for data and information, they still have a lot to offer clients from a market expertise standpoint. They also have their network of relationships and their inside knowledge of the market. Technology means that real estate professionals need to adapt, but strong relationships will still be an important part of the equation.”

Buying or leasing a commercial property is a time-consuming, complicated, and often stressful endeavor that requires trusted real estate professionals to provide their expert opinions to help buyers and lessees keep moving toward the finish line. But although real estate is still a relationship business, don’t go and sit back resting on your relationship laurels just yet. In this day and age, tech has made us all expect faster and better transactions in just about every aspect of our lives. While the client relationship is hugely important in real estate, speed and efficiency are just as vital. Effective professionals must harness tech to provide the transactional expertise that avoids the stress that keeps buyers awake at night, gives them cold feet, and kills deals. And, as this blog post by Google’s CRM Copper suggests, we are living in “The Relationship Era where transactions have evolved into long-term and mutually rewarding partnerships between teams and customers. The one-to-one sale is dead. Cross-functional ‘relationship teams’ are the new norm, and they’re made up of relationship makers from every corner of your business.”

The interactions between one buyer and numerous members of your company helps build excellent relationships but also adds a layer of complexity since leads need to be passed off and all interactions need to be shared. This is where software like CRM comes reaps huge benefits. “Technology helps professionals stay more organized, which cuts prep time for any given interaction,” notes McGraw. “In a CRM, for instance, you keep all your information together in one place. That means when you pull up a contact, you have notes on the last time you spoke, any properties they own, lease rates—whatever you need. Having this information on one screen helps you make a quick connection without having to dig through your emails for context. And since you can share necessary information with your team, everyone stays on the same page, making client interactions seamless.”” With all this information in a CRM, real estate professionals can avoid lengthy and unnecessary conversations to recall the exact needs of a client and get straight to brass tacks. In a world that demands speed, having easily-accessible information is crucial to help professionals s enhance transactional efficiency, and save both you and your clients’ precious time. And having more free time will allow you, in turn, to build better relationships with your current clients and build relationships with new ones.

With a wealth of knowledge about your clients at the tip of your fingers, you can also help better serve their needs when new opportunities arise. By using a CRM, says McGraw, “when you get a listing, you can quickly pull a report of buyers’ needs you’ve already recorded to be a quick matchmaker for your clients. What better way to build relationships than to get the deal done efficiently?” This type of action will demonstrate to your clients that you are proactive, not reactive. In an industry where real estate professionals get a huge number of new clients by word-of-mouth referrals, don’t you want to show your current clients that they are never “out of sight, out of mind” and that you always have their interests at the forefront, even if you aren’t talking with them at that moment?

Technology shouldn’t scare us. Although we’re all worried about a nightmare situation where humans become obsolete in the workforce of the future, robots can never fully replace professionals in real estate. Buyers and lessees can never sit down and talk through options and gut feelings with their smartphone. Apps will never be able to calm a client’s fears. Professionals are essential, but in a world that is constantly seeking instant gratification, and an industry where customers interacting with several team members is much more common, technology must be embraced to ensure you provide the utmost value to your clients by combining transactional speed and efficiency with the human touch of a quality relationship.

Don’t fear technology. Putting your head in the sand and doing business the same way as before is a good way to get disrupted—not by a robot but by a competitor that is using them. Embrace your tech, acknowledge there are things it can do better than you, and use it to enhance your customer’s experience and build your relationships.

Portions of this article originally appeared on the Propmodo website.

About The Sundance Company                                                      
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

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About The Sundance Company                                                      
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

How to Build Culture Through Office Design

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Culture is the only long-term competitive advantage an organization can bring to bear. Over the lifetime of an enduring business, team, product and execution are supporting players: rockstar executives will jump ship, network effects can fade, and new challengers emerge with increasing frequency in our tech-mediated economy.

Once you’ve defined a vibrant culture, how can you help your team live it? One of the most powerful ways to cultivate culture is building it—literally—into your workplace. In this article, we’ll review what culture means in the organizational context, and suggest five ways to integrate culture into your physical environment.

Defining Corporate Culture

There are countless ways to define culture, but one of the most popular theories was developed by Edgar Schein, professor emeritus at the MIT Sloan School of Management. In his book Organizational Culture and Leadership, Schein defines culture as a pyramid with three levels. The foundation consists of basic underlying assumptions shared by a team—unstated beliefs and modes of thought—followed by espoused beliefs and values, which are goals and aspirations that might appear in a mission statement.

The final level of the pyramid consists of artifacts—tangible manifestations of underlying assumptions and values. Dress code, your logo, the structure of team presentations, and your physical environment are all cultural artifacts.

Artifacts are the main way teams interact with culture. As the most prominent artifact in your organization, your office is a crucial vehicle for ensuring culture is not only known, but lived and perpetuated. Let’s dig deeper into five of Schein’s basic cultural assumptions, and explore how to convey your organization’s point of view on them through office design.

  1. Space

How close are members of your team, figuratively and physically? Do certain parts of your organization function separately from the rest? Space is among the most fundamental of Schein’s basic assumptions, and clearly relates to the layout and nature of your workplace.

Open layouts with integrated common spaces foster a sense of connection, fluidity and creativity among your team members, while cubicles or private office layouts are conducive to execution and focused collaboration in smaller groups.

  1. Authority

How does your organization consider authority? How do you decide what to do? The distribution of team members within your space serves as an implicit and powerful expression of cultural assumptions with regards to authority.

In a hierarchical business, the “corner office” with an executive desk is a physical symbol that rank has its privileges. On the other hand, a “flat” culture could disperse managers among employees, equipping everyone with the same tools and furniture. A compromise layout might offer executives privacy in inner offices but distribute corner offices with gorgeous views to pods of junior employees.

  1. Time

Do your team members rely on scheduled meetings or serendipitous collaboration? Do people work long hours or keep a typical schedule? If you took the clocks in your office away, would your team be more productive or less? The notion of time as a driver of culture may seem abstract, but the awareness of time deeply inflects how your organization works.

Organizations where the awareness of time matters more—professional services and other client-oriented businesses—are well served by a design that helps colleagues hold each other accountable. Semi-open bullpens facilitate collective time management, while clear barriers maintain transparency in meeting spaces and private offices.

For teams that depend less on time—creative agencies, startups, research groups—physical design can blur the boundaries between home and office. Soft seating, common areas and casual furnishings smooth the awareness of time passing, while private nooks and booths let team members cloister themselves for indeterminate periods of creativity.

  1. Truth

How does your team know what is happening? Do you trust someone to tell the truth, do you decide it together, or do you prove it with empirical metrics?

In cultures where controlling information matters—legal offices, or sensitive R&D—your office should reinforce the importance of visual and auditory confidentiality. Decreased density is complemented by private booths, sound attenuating privacy panels and high-backed furniture. Furniture can redirect people in transit to paths limiting spontaneous interaction, complemented by central spaces for planned collaboration.

In transparent cultures, open floor plans permit maximum visual and auditory equivalence. Visual freedom can be complemented by screens broadcasting key metrics for all to see, while collaborative spaces are accessible and clear.

  1. Relationships

Are you individuals or a collective? Do team members express their personalities or conform to a uniform style? Relationships are the fundamental building block of any culture, organizational or otherwise.

In cultures where disciplined adherence to a shared norm is most important, the office should embody those norms though cohesive decor and colors. A roomy event space should have the capacity to hold everyone in the organization for company meetings.

In individual cultures where free expression matters most—creatives, journalism—teams and individuals should be free to customize furniture, lighting and decor within a broad aesthetic. Personalization should extend to common spaces, which can contain modular furniture suitable for any configuration of people.

Build Culture Into Your Space

Designing your office to reflect your cultural assumptions can make a real difference in a growing organization. When you design your office with care, it returns the favor—helping your team grow beyond “culture” that is window dressing for the recruiting page on your website, and into an authentic culture that carries your organization to the next level.

Portions of this article originally appeared on the bureau website.

About The Sundance Company                                                      
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.