News

Offices are Continuing to Change

Here are eight workplace design ideas to look for in 2019.

Companies and building owners throughout the Twin Cities have invested millions this year to re­design and renovate their offices to better suit their organizations and appeal to workers. Modern kitchens with high-top seating, collaboration areas made for informal meetings, and adaptable office furniture with standing desks have all become the new standard for office renovations. While many of those features are predicted to still be prevalent in 2019, architects and designers say new design trends have emerged, with some clients investing in more privacy for their open offices, heavily branded design that reflects their company ethos, and more adaptable layouts.

Below are a few snapshots of workplace ideas and changes ahead.

Branded Environments

Many clients want their workspace to reflect their company, a marketing tool that helps organizations stand out to prospective clients as well as a way to reinforce company culture among employees.

At the new downtown Minneapolis offices of Sleep Number designed by HGA, the company’s emblem is throughout the space on the wall and ceiling with Sleep Number settings on some of the tables.

Move Over, Millennials

Much has been said about how current offices have been designed with millennial employees in mind, but designers have already begun to shift gears to interpret how the younger Gen Z might use their spaces. After millennials, defined as being born between 1981 and 1996, Gen Z is the newest defined generation. Gen Z is believed to be more realistic, social change-oriented, tech-integrated and interested in on-demand learning, said Rich Bonnin, a design principal at HGA in Minneapolis.

“These aren’t the decision-makers now, but they will be,” he said, at a recent broker event at the St. Paul Curling Club organized by real estate company Newmark Knight Frank.

Gen Z workers are more likely to value face-to-face interactions, shared space, choice-rich environments, security and the natural as well as the digital experience, he said.

Engaging Employees

Companies are studying and surveying their employees more to make informed design decisions.

For the new headquarters for Prime Therapeutics in Eagan, Minnesota, external consultants studied the company’s previous offices to determine how much square footage per person was being used and the operational costs of the space.

They interviewed employees and observed to how they worked. Data showed that desks were sitting empty about 60 percent of the week, with people opting for shared spaces, said Kim Gibson, the company’s senior director for real estate workplace.

“We really wanted to understand how people were working and the things that they desired to help make them more productive,” Gibson said. The data helped Prime Therapeutics and architecture firm HGA create different spaces to accommodate workers, such as one-on-one spaces and private “oasis rooms.”

Read the complete article in the Star Tribune.