HOK Director of WorkPlace Kay Sargent and Director of Interiors Tom Polucci focus on the developments shaping workplace design in 2023.
Hybrid, distant, hub-spoke-home, the loss of life of the open plan—there are many concepts concerning the operate, function and design of the post-pandemic workplace. However what are company decision-makers saying concerning the office in 2023 and the way are workers responding?
HOK’s Kay Sargent and Tom Polucci not too long ago participated in a LinkedIn Reside the place they shared insights from their conversations with company purchasers and answered viewers questions on immediately’s office.
The energetic dialogue (view it above) revealed a number of office developments for 2023, together with:
The workplace regains prominence.
Whereas distant work ranges stays increased than pre-Covid, Sargent referenced workforce and actual property knowledge displaying a continued uptick in workplace occupancy and demand as firms rebound from the pandemic.
“We’re in an evolving scenario, however we’re beginning to see it degree out,” she stated. “There are issues concerning the affect of the final three years on isolation, the standard of what’s being produced, the shortage of connection to colleagues, mentors and coaching and the long-term ramifications of all that.”
Design issues greater than ever.
One silver lining of the pandemic, stated Polucci, is it pressured firms to up their sport in terms of workplace design. As an alternative of simply prioritizing value, firms are asking for extremely tailor-made areas to recruit and retain expertise, particularly in immediately’s tight labor market.
“Purchasers are asking way more of us from a design perspective,” stated Polucci. “They need house that’s going to draw folks again. They want a motive, and the house must appear to be one thing. I’m thrilled with this.”
Hospitality and luxurious are distinction makers.
Sargent and Polucci each spoke of the development to create bespoke areas the place workers could be productive and pampered with concierge-like companies and high-end facilities.
“I can’t let you know what number of instances we hear references to airport lounges and the need to make an area appear to be, say, the Delta lounge,” stated Polucci. “Numerous these areas are lovely and really hospitality ahead and targeted, however in addition they present areas the place you may collaborate with others or tuck away alone and be targeted.”
Sargent famous that the 2023 office should be commute-worthy as attending to the workplace is commonly cited because the main deterrent to working in-person.
“The workplace has to offer you one thing you can not get at house, and anyone offering you a service (like a concierge) generally is a distinction maker,” stated Sargent. “It’s about taking the office to a hospitality degree.”
Human-centric knowledge > conventional CRE knowledge.
Conventional company actual property (CRE) knowledge prioritized constructing occupancy and utilization to make sure each sq. foot was used effectively. Whereas these measurements nonetheless have worth, they don’t reveal how folks really feel concerning the house.
“Persons are 80% of your prices,” Sargent stated. “We have to acknowledge the significance of getting completely satisfied, wholesome, engaged, empowered employees who will work tougher for you than anyone who’s disgruntled, sad or unhealthy. We have to focus extra on human centric measurements, entry to resolution–makers, entry to mentors, engagement, empowerment, a way of function and belonging. In some ways, we’ve been targeted on the improper issues.”
Areas needs to be versatile to accommodate the day-to-day and “Easter Sunday.”
Conventional CRE measurements do present profit in serving to design groups create versatile workplaces that assist smaller hybrid groups and the occasional all-staff assembly or massive occasion.
“The notion of being within the workplace for 5 days per week, not exists,” stated Polucci. “At the moment’s areas want flexibility to broaden and contract and permit folks to be seen and heard whether or not they’re within the workplace or not.”
The query Polucci and his staff most frequently get from their company purchasers is what occurs after we need everybody within the workplace on the identical time?
“We name it ‘Easter Sunday,’” stated Polucci. “And if forces you to grasp how the workplace might be used throughout all these totally different slices of various days.”
You may’t spell design with out DEI and ESG.
Increasingly firms are investing in range, fairness and inclusion to fulfill the expectations of workers, prospects and shareholders.
“If an organization gives us with 15 totally different ESG (environmental, social and governance) priorities, usually 9 or ten of them are issues we will positively affect by means of design,” stated Sargent.
Inside immediately’s office, it’s about creating areas which might be welcoming and supportive for everybody, no matter their skill or background. For instance, Sargent mentioned HOK’s office design that accommodates people who find themselves autistic, dyslexic or in any other case neurodivergent.
“We try this by embracing that we’re all totally different and creating areas the place folks have extra choices, extra selections and extra management. It’s important for our psychological and bodily well-being and to operate at a better degree.”
Out of doors facilities and motion are a part of a wholesome office.
Wellness is top-of-mind within the office of 2023. On the naked minimal, wellness requires offering constructing occupants entry to pure gentle and methods to be lively inside an area. Many firms are incorporating biophilia—comparable to inexperienced partitions and nature-inspired artwork and furnishings—into the office. Some are taking it a step additional by really bringing the office outside.
“Increasingly of our office initiatives have an out of doors aspect, “stated Polucci. “That connection to the outside is a key part to wellness, as is selling motion. I can’t let you know a challenge now that doesn’t have a stair aspect that connects a number of flooring and encourages folks to maneuver by means of the house.”
Sustainability is wellness; Wellness is sustainability.
Wellness will proceed to cross paths with sustainability in 2023 as workplaces and workplace merchandise emphasize human well being and minimizing off–gassing, carbon and waste. Polucci spoke about flooring distributors that monitor the lifecycle of their merchandise to allow them to be recycled as a substitute of pitched and of furnishings producers inserting QR codes on merchandise to tracks their historical past and encourage their re-use.
“As that furnishings will get reused over time, its story will proceed,” he stated. “We get to grasp the worth and affect these objects have over time. It’s an thrilling alternative to consider how we’re making areas and design options in a aware and holistic method.”
Staff have the higher hand—for now.
So, how lengthy will it final? Will these identical developments lengthen into 2024 and past? Most usually are not going anyplace, stated Polucci and Sargent, notably developments associated to more healthy, extra inclusive workplaces. However folks’s method to hybrid and distant work might change if the financial system sours and labor provides rise.
“If that occurs, we might see a shift,” stated Sargent. “With layoffs, folks get extra nervous about their jobs and usually tend to come into the workplace to be seen. Finally, the query is, who’s driving the bus—the worker or employer?”
For 2023—the early half, anyway—it’s the worker behind the wheel.