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8 Must-Know Trends in Office Fitouts

8 Must-Know Trends in Office Fitouts

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Published by An Huynh
Extracted from Building Design + Construction, October 2011. For educational/personal use only. Also available for download at http://http://www.bdcnetwork.com/
Extracted from Building Design + Construction, October 2011. For educational/personal use only. Also available for download at http://http://www.bdcnetwork.com/

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Published by: An Huynh on Nov 04, 2011
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8 Must-know Trendsin Office Fitouts
Each cluster of open workstations at RussellInvestment Headquarters, Seattle, is located nearan “innovation hub” that offers privacy rooms,project team rooms, and informal collaborationspaces—all equipped with whiteboard surfacesand state-of-the-art technology. Design firm NBBJlocated privacy rooms throughout the office, giv-ing associates a dedicated place for focused workor tasks that require privacy or confidentiality.
By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor
Office designs areadjusting to dramaticchanges in employee workhabits. Goodbye, cubefarm. Hello, bright, openoffices with plenty ofcollaborative space.
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Guide to 8 Office Fitout Trends
1. Make way for the incredibleshrinking workstation.2. Say goodbye to high partitions—hello, open office.3. Manage noise and privacy—and not just through design.4. Program in more team rooms, notnecessarily more conference rooms.5. Allow for an appropriate amount offlexible space.6. Design common areas to serve yourclient’s organizational goals.7. Use the fitout to embellish theclient’s branding.8. Help clients ‘manage presence’ toavoid ‘office future shock.’
Enabled by wireless technology, laptopand handheld computing devices,and high-tech tools like Skype, GoTo Meeting, and WebEx, today’s knowl-edge workers can work rom anywhere,anytime. On any given day in a typicalofce environment, many workers areo site, their ofce workstations lyingempty. Employers are capitalizing onthis trend to trim ofce square ootageand real estate costs.Ken Patrick, president o Boston-based Environments At Work, aprovider/installer o ofce urnitureand interior eatures, relates his frm’sexperience relocating a local client.“We recently moved a biopharmacompany rom Cambridge to [subur-ban] Waltham, and they will save $200million in rent over fve years,” herecalls. While that atypically high sav-ings is due largely to moving to a moreavorable rental market, a signifcantreduction in gross square ootage alsocontributed to the savings.Even though technology makes it easy or ofce workers to stay in touch withcolleagues virtually, ace-to-ace interac-tion in the work setting is still prized. Many innovative ideas areborn and refned not only during scheduled meetings but also at im-promptu gatherings. So, while workstations are being slimmed downin number and size, space or meetings and inormal interactionis growing. New ofce ftouts provide attractively designed spaceso various sizes or in-person collaboration, including conerencerooms or small, medium, and large groups. Small caés, lounges,and nooks with comortable chairs encourage inormal interactions. The weak economy is responsible or a modest bump in ofceretroft work or design and construction companies, as employerslook or real estate bargains. Vacancy rates are high, and landlordsare doing what they can to keep occupancies up. “Tenants are ableto negotiate good rates with good concessions,” says Neil Schneider,executive vice president and principal with McCall & Almy, a Bos-ton-based commercial brokerage frm and real estate consultancy. Asleases expire, tenants are jumping to higher-quality space, or negoti-ating with their landlords to revamp their current spaces. Either way,the new ofce usually diers drastically rom the old one.
1. Make way for the incredible shrinking workstation.
Individual workstation square ootage is being slasheddramatically—in some cases, to less than hal the traditional size—in part to allow organizations to devote more space or meetingsand inormal interaction. “You need to get the workplace denserto aord more conerence and meeting space,” points out Gervais Tompkin, AIA, LEED AP, Gensler’s head o workplace consulting.“The workstation used to be eight eet by eight eet, or eight by 10, but it has shrunk to six by six,” says Nick Haritos, a regional vicepresident or ofce urniture and interiors manuacturer Haworth. Technology miniaturization has been a actor in this change, saysHaritos. Laptops with built-in at screens take up way less spacethan bulky desktop computers. Desktop phones are rapidly beingreplaced by cell phones. With digitization o many documents,techno-savvy organizations have been able to reduce, i not com-pletely eliminate, paper fles, catalogs, and other printed material.
2. Say goodbye to high partitions—hello, open office.
 Workstations are not only shrinking, they are becoming moreopen. Partitions are either being junked completely, or their heightis being lowered to oster greater employee interaction. Some or-ganizations are even getting rid o private ofces, or at least reduc-ing their number signifcantly. Exceptions to this trend: workspaces
Consulting firm Analysis Group’s office in Menlo Park, Calif., designed by CBT Architects, provides collabora-tion space for client or staff meetings. Glass walls and daylit seating areas encourage creativity and openness.
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