Tangram recently hosted a special panel discussion on 'Adaptive Workspaces for Growing Companies' at its Downtown LA facility. The distinguished group offered their expert perspectives on how organizations can plan for growth, for the evolving demands from employees and executives alike, and for the unknown nature of tomorrow's work.
Moderated by Nick Meter, Tangram Vice President of Sales and Customer Experience, the panel included Mark Chaput, Regional Sales Manager, Steelcase; Sara Escobar, Director, Workplace Experience, Hulu; Mark Hershman, Partner, Shubin Donaldson; Tony Kantarjian, Principal, Enter Environments; and Aaron Poladian, Manager of Real Estate, Planning and Construction, Riot Games.
"Managing real estate and creating optimum workspaces are complex tasks for any company. And they can be especially challenging when you mix rapid growth with a priority on finding and retaining top talent, all while the very nature of how work gets done is changing every year," noted Tangram President and CEO Joe Lozowski. "It is our distinct pleasure to share the insights of these highly experienced and knowledgeable professionals. These are fundamental considerations that we assist our clients in addressing every day."
Highlights of the highly informative discussion covering eight key topics related to planning and accommodating growth were:
Flexibility and Adaptability
Design for change and impermanence, including infrastructure (e.g., power, lighting, HVAC). Rapid advances in technology are freeing people from the traditional office environment. Involve employees in the planning process and recognize that no two people work in the same way.
Innovation and Collaboration
These aspects of work are now "the reality." Agile and quick communication are essential, with video conferencing becoming pervasive. Change management is basic to promoting next-generation workspaces and motivating people to use them.
Companies must determine nice-to-haves vs. essentials in terms of making a real contribution to the business. Look at the surrounding geographic area to avoid duplication of existing services. Work with landlords to negotiate amenities, keeping in mind the potential expenses of rent and buildout.
Make the local workforce feel special. Involve them, including the regional or country manager, in providing input. Incorporate elements that are authentic to the area and local culture.
Fast Growing Clients
Anticipated growth may or may not take place. Be ready for the unexpected. Involve consultants, since companies often "don't know what they don't know." This practice can be especially valuable for companies that do not have a professional facilities management function.
Valuable as "escape hatch" to provide flexible capacity as needed to manage expansion and contraction of staff levels. Networking opportunities can be valuable as well as adaptability to individual working styles.
Important for a wide range of reasons, including minimizing disruption of workflow and supporting employee performance. Three key aspects: physical (e.g., ergonomics), emotional (e.g., social interaction), cognitive. (e.g., privacy).
Open Space Plans
Overall, it is seen as a valid option and here to stay with positive impacts on interaction and collaboration, but should not be implemented simply because it's a trend. Consider tradeoffs, nuances of the organization's business and culture, types of staff activities and resulting workspace needs.
Photo: Joe Lozowski, Tangram President and CEO