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Learning from the Tech Industry: Making Offices Smart

Workplace design often reflects the innovative and forward-thinking culture of companies

In the world of technology companies and startups, it’s no surprise that the design of workplaces often reflects the innovative and forward-thinking culture that they are a part of. This industry values technology, flexibility, creativity and corporate responsibility. Therefore, the typical “silicon valley” office features smart and minimalist design, collaborative spaces, excellent (inter)connectivity and a commitment to lowering an office’s environmental impact through efficiency measures. For example, many invest heavily in green technologies and initiatives like solar panels, highly efficient building materials and fixtures, and recycling.

This makes good business sense: millennials increasingly demand sustainable work environments and as a result companies that invest in energy efficiency improvements can expect a more content workforce, and better employee attraction and retention. Of course, improved energy efficiency also leads to lowered operating costs—a great advantage to anyone operating in the competitive tech and startup world. We could learn a thing or two from these “next-gen” offices. Let’s look at the key components:

What Makes an Office Smart

1) Open, collaborative spaces:

When it comes to layout and furnishing, many startup and tech offices have a modern, sleek design with open-floor plans and shared desks to facilitate the collaborative environment. A common feature is flexibility, provided by different spaces used for different functions such as hotel lobby-like seating areas for ideas sharing and informal conversations, and more private space like soundproof glass offices for focused activities such as programming.

As my colleague has discussed before, historic buildings that have been converted into open, loft-style office spaces are proving especially popular with a millennial workforce. These adaptive reuse projects can be a particularly lucrative solution to the shortage of development sites in urban areas (for lots more in adaptive reuse, see this webinar).

Continue reading the GlobeSt blog here.