We might not be able to predict the future, but we can have a hand in shaping it. Over a packed three days at Future Offices we heard exceptional speakers talk about just that—how everything from change management to the commercial real estate industry, will influence in the way we work. Here are our top 10 takeaways.
1. Investing in your physical space has great ROI.
Convincing the right people to invest in a company’s physical surroundings instead of say, more developers, isn’t always easy. But it is 100% worth the investment. PwC saw a 13% increase in worker engagement and contentment with a recent office revamp. If that doesn’t say positive ROI, we don’t know what does.
2. Create a clear project approval process.
This goes for every project, not just one that involves (literally) building a bridge between neighboring offices. Twitter’s Tracy Hawkins and Sameer Pangrekar (Head of Global Real Estate and Hed of Design and Construction, respectively) were emphatic about how a single one-page document has enabled them to roll out huge construction and design projects without a hitch from upper management. The key? Stakeholders sign off on the doc just before the project kicks off helping to keep them aligned throughout. So simple. So useful.
3. Don’t ignore nature in your workspace.
It could be as small as using natural wood floors, or as massive as creating a wall of plants to absorb sound, the important thing is to add natural elements to your design. Plants don’t only increase productivity by 15%, they also decrease stress. Don’t believe us? Twitter’s CEO takes all of his one-on-one meetings on the rooftop terrace of their San Francisco HQ. That’s one way to de-stress a situation.
4. The tech is only as good as those who use it.
Investing in the latest technology is worthless if no one uses it. Put the user at the center of the tools that you use and get their buy-in before investing in the final platform or product. Properly communicating internally allows you to bring better external solutions to the team.
5. Treat your physical space as an extension of your culture.
Want to get employees excited about your values and overall company vision? Build it into the physical surroundings. Pinterest have spaces throughout their office specifically designated for knitting. These designated zones are an homage to knit, one of the company’s many values.
6. Options, options, options.
Whether it’s about designing spaces to be modular—think of everything from desks, to whiteboards to cafeteria tables on casters—to using a flexible office provider, employees want options. “When people don’t have control over their environment, things start to bug them,” explains Twitter’s Sameer Pangrekar. “If you give employees flexibility and choice to work in various places, they’ll be happier.”
7. It’s a consumer society. We’re just working in it.
“We live in a consumer-based world where choice is king and businesses are finally catching up,” says CBRE’s Beth Moore. After decades of living with the status quo, workers are demanding more choice and flexibility from their office space. And office space providers are listening.
8. Real estate is changing. Don’t be left behind.
“It’s fascinating to me that we think offices are going to change but that real estate is not,” says Breather CEO, Julien Smith. Notoriously slow to adapt, commercial real estate is learning to adapt to the priorities and demands of a younger, more dynamic workforce. The cities of tomorrow, won’t necessarily look like the cities of today.
9. Culture comes from the top.
Want to foster an open culture? Set an example. Despite being both a billionaire businessman and former mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg does not have a corner office at Bloomberg HQ. “He started on the trading floor,” explains Art Aguilar, Bloomberg’s Head of Workplace Strategy. “He still has the same desk as everyone else in our open concept office. He wants you to be able to speak to your supervisor, or your CEO.”
10. Things move quickly. Have a life outside of work.
Love what you do. But don’t make it all that you love.