Last night, Director of Project Management and Professional Development, Natalie Malawey-Ednie, spoke on the Society for Marketing Processional Services (SMSP) panel. The topic of the sold out event was ‘The Shift from Open Office Spaces.’
The panel discussion was based on recent surveys conducted by commercial furniture manufacturers that reveal that nearly 90 percent of workers around the world are less than satisfied with their work environments, primarily due to lack of privacy. The discussion focused the pros and cons of open office spaces, the impact of productivity, morale and retention and discussed best practices for implementation.
Norm Liedtke- CEO, Meyer (moderator)
Floss Barber- CEO, Floos Barber, Inc.
David Biondolillo- US Corporate Lead Client Relationships Management and Enterprise Real Estate, TD Bank
Karen Loveland-Pascucci- Director of Design & Project Management, SSH Real Estate
Jennifer Mishkin- Senior Associate Director, Planning, Design and Construction, University of Pennsylvania
Natalie Malawey-Ednie- Director of Project Management and Professional Development, Watchdog Real Estate Project Management
The lively discussion had the whole room engaged. Each panelist spoke candidly on their professional perspective and experiences. Key takeaways included:
- There isn’t a shift from open office! Open office is still the most common design for corporate environments, but businesses are being more thoughtful about creating a variety of work spaces, sound control and considering company culture.
- Change management initiatives can make all the difference when it comes to the success or failure of implementing a new design.
- Flexible work environments will look different for every business. Owners must consider what makes an office environment both usable and flexible for their needs.
- It is commonly thought that the open-office floor plan is more cost effective. However, considering the finishes and amenities that typically come with an open office environment, in addition to the materials and features that must be used to compensate for sound travel, air flow, etc., panelists see open office floor plans being pricier than the traditional office spaces.
- Collaboration and Innovation are the drivers behind the open office trend. There is no recipe for collaboration or innovation. These things come from chance encounters and having the right people working together.
- You can never satisfy everyone, but implementing a variety of spaces- offices, open office areas, huddle rooms, conference rooms, quiet zones, collaboration zones, etc., you will get pretty close!