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Millennial Spaces Already a Thing of the Past?

Much has been written about the changing design of commercial real estate offices geared to attracting the youngest members of the workforce, millennials. This includes suites with few or no closed offices, long common work tables rather than individual cubicles, common and open eating areas, often with barista style layouts, and even Ping-Pong tables and couches.

This philosophy also may include a variety of outside amenities such as the landlord constructing a gym, walking paths, outdoor courts, bike racks, and don’t forget the views. Landlords were rushing to provide those amenities hell bent on attracting companies who in turn believed they needed this design to attract the best talent. But is that the case now?

After several years of testing the waters with these new office configurations there appears to be a new trend shifting back to more traditional office space design. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, the honeymoon seems to be over. “Google got it wrong. The open-office trend is DESTROYING the workplace. Workplaces need more walls, not fewer.

This article discusses the fact that recently there has been some pushback from companies who now feel productivity has been comprised because of these open-type buildouts. Companies that embraced these new millennial space configurations now report workers seem to be distracted by those around them. In fact, many often seek other areas in the building in order to have private conversations with clients or just work quietly without distractions.

Alternative workspace is not new. Back in 1998, The Harvard Review published a study on a new style off office workplaces incorporating “hoteling” where employees were not assigned a desk. Rather the employee would sign up for a work space for a particular day. Many companies began to allow telecommuting as a common perk.

Under the open space type of office model hoteling remains a small part but senior staff is finding that more and more employees prefer to work from home, free from the distractions outlined in the WSJ article. While telecommuting may on some levels be more productive individually, that model removes the camaraderie and sharing of ideas critical for many businesses.

Before you design your new space based on trends the landlord may be promoting, survey your employees and ask them what they feel most comfortable with as a work environment. Focus on productivity. While the workplace needs to be enjoyable it still has a purpose for your business; getting the job done. What is the best compromise and combination of designs for your company?

Recently, a landlord conveyed that they have been designing their new buildings with a plethora of amenities so potential tenants could attract the best talent. Their selling point has been if you provide the best work environment then new employees will be so productive it will more than pay for the higher rents landlords are now demanding.

The open office concept works for some companies but even firms like Google are starting to recognize that production remains the path to profits. Think before you jump into the amenity trap.

IN/House Corporate Real Estate helps you develop that strategy, handles all aspects of a potential relocation from search to completion of tenant improvements, and continues to work with you over the entire term of the lease. We act as your in-house real estate department addressing all real estate matters as you focus on your core business. Feel free to contact us at 949 442-0922 or to discuss any real estate issues you may be facing.

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