Meet the Planets: A Visual Guide to Our Solar System

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 Have An Active Lifestyle

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.

Workplace Strategy: The New Generation of Office Spaces

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Over the past year, we witnessed a fundamental change in the role of office. As we quickly transitioned to virtual and digital workspaces, we saw leadership change their perspective on remote working and physical space. Business leaders have also shared concerns over workplace purpose and rightsizing their future office requirements, yet they have been awed and inspired by the complexity of the single question: “What is the future of work?”

Through this disruption, organizations are boldly questioning conventional business norms and expressing concerns about the shift from dedicated, individual spaces to more agile, shared workspaces. Key questions business owners are asking include:

What is the best office size and configuration?

What are the long-term, post pandemic implications on real estate decisions made today?

How do we establish organizational culture and maintain employee engagement in a blended/hybrid workspace?

What technologies will be needed immediately to successfully transition and support the physical office of the future?

Components of The New Generation Space

The New Generation Space is a purpose-built environment that drives employee engagement: a memorable and inspiring place where people want to work and be. This hybrid workplace can also be viewed as a “Hive;” the place people return to for human connection that supports the activities an individual does not want to do, or cannot do, from home. And although it is not one-size-fits-all (with solutions tailored to each company’s unique needs) there is a general emphasis on the following elements:

Leadership: Presence and vision are the heart of an organization. Associates, both new and seasoned, will need to see and be seen to fully connect with the company’s culture and vision.

Cultural Experience: The work environment is a physical manifestation of a company’s values, organizational purpose and brand promise. In-person employee engagement also helps create the social capital that binds organizational culture.

In-Office Employees: Though many employees will embrace remote work, others will still prefer the in-office environment. Resident employees will likely be in the office most of the time and may require individual, assigned workspaces. Companies should consider building in flexibility to expand and contract as on-site headcount needs adjust.

Collaboration and Innovation: Although platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have made virtual meetings more successful than most would have anticipated, virtual collaboration misses out on the nuances of body language and other visual cues in communication that impact the brainstorming process. The “Hive” will incorporate innovation labs, project rooms and other areas for team-based work and tactile learning.

Agile Workspace: Similar to an activity-based work model, agile workspace allows associates to choose a preferred setting based on the task being performed. A hybrid workforce requires the freedom to choose between focus areas, quiet zones, and collaboration spaces that are tech-enabled to promote productivity and cross-pollination of ideas.

Three Steps to Attaining the New Generation Space

Companies are currently experiencing varying degrees of readiness and acceptance of the hybrid workplace model and the concept of the “Hive.” Organizations have extensive investments in existing real estate, deeply ingrained leadership styles and cultural history, often supported by well-established industry norms. To address these issues, a new methodology has been developed to guide businesses through the uncertainty and help them find the best solution for their needs. Following are three key steps to help your organization achieve your New Generation Space.

1. Confirm Your Purpose

The process begins with listening and understanding leadership as it confirms – or redefines – the organization’s vision, mission, values and culture, and how those may be impacted by a dynamic workforce or new business processes. This self-examination will undoubtedly create uncertainties and provoke many questions. Addressing these concerns is imperative for a united leadership direction and guiding the company to the right workplace solution. During this process, we also identify leadership’s threshold for change regarding remote work, digital processes and financial commitment.

Secondly, assessing the employee work-from-home (WFH) experience is crucial to understanding what is working and what can be improved in terms of: technology, performance, distractions, engagement, social isolation, and organizational connection. Through employee experience surveys, businesses with support of an interior architecture partner can capture feedback regarding preferred future WFH schedules, in-office activities, desired on-site resources, and amenities. This helps organizations understand the individual personas within their company and provide insight to the new workplace purpose. These surveys coupled with leadership’s goals are key in identifying the issues, priorities and expectations that will be addressed in the next step, “Future of Work Sessions.”

Future of Work Sessions include participants from a cross-section of the organization representing various departments, cohorts, and responsibilities for a broad perspective on beliefs, needs, and expectations. These set the stage for creating opportunities and exploring the process of moving from “where we are” today to “where we want to be” tomorrow. Future of Work Sessions utilize several tailored exercises based on a modified design thinking methodology – a human-centered approach to problem solving. One such exercise develops “How might we?” questions to frame the challenge from a different perspective. Examples include:

How might we design a workplace that is intuitive/easy for all occupants to use?

How might we design a workplace that improves remote worker engagement?

Not only does Future of Work Sessions align all stakeholders on the vision and purpose of the new workplace environment, but it establishes the “seeds of change” and becomes the basis for developing new workplace processes and protocols, and then determining what change management is required for a successful transformation.

2. Develop a Strategy

The next step applies the results of the Future of Work Sessions to real-world applications.  Using these ideas and solutions we can test what impact various “What if” scenarios might have on the future office needs. Some examples might be: “What impact does remote scheduling have on the total real estate requirement?”, “What if we implement a desk-sharing system?” or “What if everyone shows up on the same day?”

As individual space becomes shared space and alternative work settings are utilized, space plans are no longer measured simply by the number of workstations and private offices. A capacity analysis can determine how many “seats” will be needed to meet current and future demand as associates adapt to this new way of working.

Finally, developing a comprehensive workplace strategy must include aligning IT and HR. This strategy should address how to best support an untethered workforce and what new tools and platforms should be provided. The appropriate technology infrastructure must be implemented to support a seamless user experience. These may include integrated employee dashboards, booking systems, or sensor technology that manage the relationship between people and spaces. HR’s involvement regarding policy and protocols are also established during this step, as changes in space may require new behaviors and training to maximize use of The New Generation Space.

3. Create an Experience

The heart of the New Generation Space is connecting individuals as part of an extended community and embracing the human side of an organization. With well-planned migration patterns and deliberate touchpoints, the environment becomes a memorable experience that drives engagement. As the physical manifestation of a company’s brand promise, it embodies an organization’s culture and values. It will be purpose-built and tech-enabled, integrating positive sensory experience for all.

This workplace model will be easy to use and intuitive with seamless, plug-and-play technology. Integrated platforms will provide organizational insights, that track trends and schedules, and improve the overall communication and user experience across the hybrid workforce. When designed efficiently and effectively, the New Generation Space will build both personal and professional relationships, drive engagement, and foster collaboration and innovation.

This article originally appeared on the Work Design Magazine 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.

The Fastest Growing And Shrinking Cities in the U.S.

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.

Creating Hybrid Workspaces

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How do we design a functional and productive workplace that actively supports the hybrid model?

A Strong Technological Backbone

An emphasis on technology will serve as a touchstone for the modern hybrid workplace in order to bring both remote and office employees together. When it comes to conference rooms and workstations, each one will need to be equipped with the technology to support virtual meetings. But an emphasis on technology also means each employee is provided with the proper equipment to do their jobs remotely. To enable this, team members may require new equipment ranging from upgraded laptops to noise-canceling audio equipment.

Accessibility is Vital

Sometimes, it’s the unscheduled conversation in the office kitchen that’s the most productive. That’s why every aspect of the hybrid office will need to be accessible to each team member. Offices will need to be designed to provide the same capabilities to everyone. This means everything from conference rooms and solo spaces to community kitchens and restrooms be easily accessible.

Customization is Key

Each workplace will need to demonstrate a strong sense of flexibility going forward. This means every meeting should include the option to join virtually, since it’s likely that team members will be logging in from everywhere ranging from the physical office to their dining room table. But no matter their location, each employee wants to feel personally connected to their colleagues. Office “neighborhoods” will support team members by building community in a layout that is individually tailored to each group. Experts suggest utilizing interactive elements that reinforce a sense of belonging through unique features like photo collage walls and extracurricular activity bulletin boards.

Untraditional Workspaces

One unique aspect of a post-pandemic workplace will be the departure from traditionally permanent workstations. Instead, those spaces can be repurposed to create shared collaborative spaces that serve multiple functions, whether it’s supporting individual work or converting into social spaces. Ultimately, this may be an important component to how much each company spends on its real estate, since reducing the square footage of traditional workstations may affect how much money each organization needs to allocate for their space. Still, companies need to plan for the days where occupancy in the office is at a maximum, and the space must be able to accommodate that.

Emphasis on Health and Wellness

From yoga classes to group meditation, the need to have healthy employees is even more essential than before the pandemic. After all, we all know that when team members care for their minds and bodies, they’re better employees. As vaccines roll out and people transition back to the office, the physical space where employees come together will also undergo changes. Going forward, offices will be less about driving productivity, and more focused on cultivating a space that nurtures collaboration, community, and wellness. All team members deserve to feel safe in the workplace, and this can be recognized by equipping offices with everything from improved HVAC systems to technology-centric meeting spaces. There will also be a push to emphasize outdoor space, as well as indoor spaces that utilize plenty of natural light.

This article originally appeared on the Cresa 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.

The People Behind Inventions We Couldn’t Live Without

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 Brand Your Workplace on a Budget

Here are some tips on how to embrace a new space and create an environment that reflects your organization in the best light. 

The Space Case

Whether you’re moving into a short-term sublease situation or settling in somewhere for good, the first step should be to consider all of the elements you’re working with. In addition to assessing the space, features, and amenities that you have, you need to consider the logistics of filling it. Will you need to furnish it yourself, or will the furniture be included, which is often the case in many sublease situations. You’ll want to perform a concrete analysis of the area and its features beforehand, so you can move forward knowing exactly what you need.

Solidify your Message

An office tells a story, and you want your workspace to reflect your brand in a positive manner. This means presenting a space that embodies the vision of your company, from the color of the decor to the company logo and signage on the wall. Consider what kind of atmosphere you want to represent your organization’s message. Since signage and branding are likely the first thing clients and employees see when they walk into your space, you want that first impression to be a positive one. It’s a good time to consider whether you want to continue using your current branding or see this as an opportunity for a brand refresh. It’s always better to determine this sooner rather than later in order to save your organization both time and money in the long run.

Cultivate an Atmosphere

While your clients are obviously a vital component of your business, it’s the workforce that spend their days in the office (even if they are on a modified WFH schedule!) That’s why it’s so important that your workplace is one that’s conducive to bringing the best out of your employees. You want your team members to be able to thrive in a place that fosters both community and productivity. This means furniture, equipment and amenities that are welcoming and comfortable, while also professional. Envision the type of reception area you want to serve as the “first look” into your company’s universe. Is the aesthetic best represented through digital signage and AV applications, or through vinyl wall graphics? It’s likely you’ll want to apply other branding elements and signage in other parts of the office, like conference rooms and workstations, so be sure to perform a full evaluation of your options before settling on one choice.

Time to Accessorize

When it’s time to inject the company’s unique viewpoint into the space, furniture colors and fabrics go a long way. Whether it’s panel fabrics and seat cushions or ancillary decor, this type of furniture is easy and inexpensive to customize, especially if your moving into a space where furniture is included. Unique finishes speak volumes as well. Will you embrace a colorful accent wall or untraditional wall coverings? Is hardwood flooring suitable for a busy organization, and do you need ceiling tiles to absorb the sound of constant conversation? Each of these components need to be taken into consideration.

The Financials

While creating your space is an expression of your organization, it’s often outside experts who understand the best methods to find good deals. Don’t hesitate to consult the experts who understand the supply chain and demand. Often, they’re the people who understand what it takes to find the essentials you need that fit into your budget. Also, they have the partnerships and experience to help find the best deals, which is always an asset. 

Branding your workplace can feel like a significant undertaking, but it’s one that strongly solidifies your office’s culture.

This article originally appeared on the Cresa 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.

Have A Mindful Evening Without Technology

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.

Workplace Strategy: The Purpose of Place and The Power of People

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Uncertainty has a way of welcoming conjecture and myths. The last year, of course, has been nothing if not uncertain. The pandemic has brought health concerns, economic difficulties, limitations on activities, and a restructuring of how and where office workers spend their days. The narratives have grown; big cities are dying, no one wants to be in the city center and there is no future for the office. All three of these are untrue (or at best, premature).

The office isn’t going to disappear; however, it is certainly going to change. The corporate office will become one part of a workplace ecosystem that provides greater flexibility to agile workforces through access to core office spaces as well as home offices and third places (such as, coffee shops, community hubs, on-demand event spaces, and/or flexible office / coworking locations). This reality is borne out in recent data which indicates a huge shift in workplace strategy towards hybrid models (with a mix of in-office and remote work), but no change from pre- to post-COVID related to workplace strategies that are “remote first.” Said another way, 100 percent virtual is not likely to be a common office solution.

However, if the office is going to continue to be the primary place where knowledge economy and creative class work gets done then what does the core office need to look and feel like? The place to begin is with the purpose of the office. The office needs to drive business objectives and it needs to provide organizations, teams and individuals with those things they cannot access when they are working remotely. When the pandemic winds down, companies will have an opportunity to deeply explore not just how their people return but also why they return to the office. Three of the primary long-term drivers of the usage of the office as a workplace will be connection, collaboration and career.

Connection: During the pandemic-induced work-from-home experiment, half of employees have indicated they do not feel connected to their organization’s culture. While team interaction has remained high with the broad implementation of video conferencing technology, the emotional connection between individuals and the sense of belonging at work have taken a hit. This has real business consequences since belonging can improve job performance by 56 percent and decrease turnover risk by 50 percent.

Collaboration: Research has shown that remote working can improve product development performance and the speed with which new innovations occur. However, the findings came with an important caveat, as noted by the authors, businesses “cannot do without a sufficient level of face-to-face contact.” Pure virtual offices would likely stymie innovation. This is confirmed by two studies that suggest that the optimal outcome of remote work exists when it is done only on a part-time basis, which can reduce isolation of employees and increase their knowledge interaction.

Career: In the short-term 100 percent remote work makes it difficult for employees (especially younger ones) to engage in informal learning and development or receive mentoring from more experienced colleagues. A third of employees–regardless of age—do not believe they are learning while working primarily remotely. What does this portend for the long-term impacts on individuals’ careers and on organizations’ business performance?

Space layouts matter…

During the decade following the Great Financial Crisis, cost consciousness and the rise of “coffee house” work culture led to the tightening of office densities. Between Q3 2019 and the end of 2019, the average square footage per U.S. office employee decreased from 212 to just under 193 square feet per employee (-9.2 percent). And, there are certainly examples of occupiers (and flex office / coworking providers) hitting densities under 125 square feet per employee. Even prior to the pandemic, employees were indicating that open plans with dense seating charts were negatively impacting their ability to focus, renew and work with their team.

It is no surprise then that the employees whose experience scores in those three areas have improved the most during pandemic-induced remote work are those that were coming out of highly dense, open seating plans. Employees in flexible space with a strong mix of personal workspace, enclosed conference areas and open collaborative space are the ones who miss their offices this most.

People, not just place…

Workplace strategy and design must be human-centric, and organizations must pay specific attention to the needs and wants of its various employee personas as well as the work and interaction patterns of different types of teams. This requires strong partnership between corporate real estate departments and business / strategy leaders, finance, human resources and change management.

The location, design and quality of workspace is even more important with an increasingly agile workforce, not less. Office environments will be curated to increase flexibility of function, to provide inspiration, to support learning and mentoring, to reinforce purpose, to embody corporate culture and to accommodate meaningful experiences for employees. All of this will need to keep in mind both the employees in the building on any given day and the workers connecting in digitally at any given moment.

This article originally appeared on the Work Design Magazine 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.

No, the Office Space Isn’t Dead

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There’s been a lot of ink spilled over how the coronavirus pandemic spells the end for the traditional office. With Manhattan office occupancy hovering around 11 percent, some speculate that work as we know it is gone forever. People seem to like the flexibility of working from home over a daily commute and a desk. Are they going to feel that way forever?

Working from home has plenty of benefits. Cutting out commutes opens up more time for family, sleep, or mid-morning trips to the grocery store. There is something to be said for flexibility when technology allows it. Some people are more productive outside the typical 9-to-5 work structure. Some find long, midday walks get their creative juices flowing. Others need to be home when school lets out, or on laundry day, or when the heat is on the fritz in mid-December and, for some reason, the super can only come by at 3:07 p.m.

But flexibility cuts both ways. Studies show that office workers toiling from home during the pandemic are more likely to put in more work hours, not fewer. There is no “quitting time,” train to catch, or an emptying office to signal the end of the workday. People are more likely to send or answer emails at all hours, even on weekends.  

In the long run, this is wearing. A recent Gallup survey found that fully remote workers are now experiencing more burnout than those on site, with 29 percent of employees who work fully remotely saying they felt burned out at work “very often” or “always.”

There is a benefit to separating your work life from your home life. A short commute serves as a transition from one world to the other. And even though we love our families dearly, it can be a challenge to spend all of our time together. If you are single and already frustrated with your roommate for leaving his dishes in the sink, you don’t need to add their workday pen-clicking habit into the mix.

Most importantly, humans are wired for connection. We are not built for solitude and loneliness.  We are a social species and need the collaboration and companionship of an office. It’s hard to be mentored, have serendipitous conversations, or even Monday morning water cooler chats when the office is a Zoom room. It’s hard to be creative when you can’t just pop by a colleague’s desk to brainstorm. Real life camaraderie and face-to-face conversation can’t be replaced by virtual contact. In the main Downtown Alliance office, when given the option, many of our non-essential staff of 50 have chosen to come in a few days a week and reconnect. That’s been true for me, too. 

COVID has forced us to be socially distant and masked for now. I don’t think we will ever return to a pre-pandemic 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. lifestyle. What’s more, the technological advances that have permitted us to work from home this past year will continue to facilitate more flexibility and freedom. But there is a real benefit to having a central workspace, a desk of your own that’s far from the kids and the roommates and the construction down the street. And our office workers are central to the vibrancy of the surrounding neighborhoods, including our local restaurants and shops.

Working from home is a benefit because it’s an option, but the office is a critical one, too. Employers and employees know this. When the vaccine is here for most, the offices will be, too.

The office isn’t dead. It’s resting.

 This article originally appeared on the Commercial Observer 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.