-By Joe Flynn

I recently attended an IFMA Boston panel discussion on Mobility.  The panelists were; Kate Thibeault, VP Governance, Policy and Process Optimization, Global Property, Pearson; Melodee Wagen, President, Workspace Strategies, Inc.; and Jessie Wigfall, Senior Manager, Design & Construction Operations, Liberty Mutual Insurance.

“Engagement” – All parties agreed that the greatest benefit of instituting a mobility program was the immediate boost in employee engagement. They shared that creating a flexible work program has a profoundly positive impact on most employees.

They shared the following lessons learned:

  • There must be senior leadership advocacy before initiating any mobility policy.
  • A solid partnership between facilities, HR and IT is critical for any launch to be successful.
  • In order to present a case for mobility, it is essential that the justification extend beyond the topic of cost savings and include the potential boost to employee performance and moral.
  • It is necessary to engage both Change Management and Employee Engagement consultants to support the process before, during and after.
  • Select one department as the “guinea pig”, ideally one that supports mobility. Track the metrics of their performance and satisfaction.
  • It is ill advised to assume that significant real estate savings will be realized. She cautioned that existing spaces should be reimagined as more fluid, open and collaborative.

by Deepa Venkat, IIDA, NCIDQ, LEED AP

With the evolution in workplace design, it’s clear that in the modern office, the needs of employees are paramount. Companies are focused on both attracting and retaining talent and looking ahead to accommodate the five generations of workers that will comprise the workforce by 2020. And it’s not just about the Millennials: organizations are preparing now for a more inclusive, flexible, and open workplace that appeals to different demographics and moves beyond the physical setting.

Looking back on the history on the modern workplace, there is a 10-year cyclical pattern to the changing office landscape. Popular “workplace theories” anticipate 2020 — and even 2030 — to bring yet further advances in how we work, and the generational shift in the workplace may force this even faster. So it begs the question: why design a workplace for employee demographics when we can design it for specific work activities? There are several factors at play in this future 2020 workplace.

  • Activity-based work. Dynamic, activity-based work (ABW) design creates a balanced variety of communal workspaces that correspond to the type of work performed throughout the day. Rather than assigning traditional workstations to staff, this model anticipates that employees will choose for themselves work areas that best suit their individual needs on any given day. ABW design moves an office from individual space to “we” space by offering both creative spaces and quiet work rooms without the worry of crowding or disruptions by one work style to another.
  • Technology and flexibility. The trend toward adaptable workspaces provides both employers and employees with the utmost flexibility in space allocation and work practices. For example, a huddle room could be used as a space for long-distance collaboration or a phone room/quiet zone for individual work. The adaptability shift is also supporting the introduction of “third or in-between” spaces with no defined purpose yet adaptive to the needs of the user. Workplace bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and choose-your-own-device) (CYOD) technology options support and allow flexibility and diversity.
  • Ecosystem of amenities. Companies are expanding their approach to office amenities to include spaces and services that provide a variety of environments for different tasks and behaviors throughout the day, and those spaces have become more high-quality, experiential environments. A meeting lounge might include a coffee table with an embedded interactive tablet or virtual and augmented reality technologies to support immersive collaboration with remote colleagues. Café spaces have become active, all-day destinations for impromptu casual meetings.
  • Humanize the work experience. Aligning with the trend for enhanced amenities, employee services and work environments are also becoming highly personalized. Corporate cafés are offering catered, gourmet lunch services to accommodate employees trying to maximize their productivity in the office. High-end residential design elements have crossed over into commercial office spaces, infusing comfort and familiarity into the workplace. Different furniture types, in a variety of textures and materials, lend visual interest and create a hospitality-style environment in welcome and gathering zones like reception, café/dining, and coffee bars. Digital building operations are making it possible to individualize the workplace experience more than ever before.
  • Coworking and proworking. Colocation is at the core of both these new work trends. One of the main advantages to coworking is the ease of collaborating with other companies sharing your space. Proworking is a natural extension of coworking, allowing organizations to overcome barriers presented by traditional real estate models and achieve greater flexibility by connecting with a vetted network of professionals (outside of their employee base) who need office space. The potential for cross-pollinating the creativity and talents of the workforce is enormous.

Companies will continue to optimize for collaboration and communication, as the multigenerational workforce seeks greater mobility and flexibility in the workplace. Different work settings and trends are ready to reshape the business landscape for the next decade and beyond.

Two complementary locations in Waltham and Boston leverage workplace strategy and proximity to long-standing clients and innovation of Boston

BOSTON – Oct. 3, 2018 – Margulies Perruzzi Architects (MPA), one of New England’s most innovative architectural and interior design firms, announced today that Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (SGH) selected the firm to provide space planning and interior design services for SGH’s new complementary locations in Waltham and Boston. SGH is a national engineering firm that designs, investigates, and rehabilitates structures, building enclosures, and materials. SGH will move from its current headquarters at 41 Seyon Street in Waltham, Mass. to 110,000 SF at 20 CityPoint in Waltham and 14,000 SF in Boston’s Prudential Tower. The two new locations will embrace a high-performance and sustainable workplace strategy, with open and efficient floor plans promoting collaborative, team-based work.

“MPA’s commitment to exceptional design and thoughtful workplace strategy is a winning combination that will help us realize our vision for both locations,” said Charles Russo, Chief Executive Officer of SGH. “We are partnering with MPA to create an inspiring CityPoint location that grows our laboratory, research, and innovation capabilities and a vibrant downtown Boston location that immerses our engineering team with our long-standing clients and academic partners, and with the innovation of Boston.”

Workplace strategy is a key component of MPA’s open and modern designs, which maximize collaboration, natural light, and operational flexibility. Both of SGH’s spaces will have multiple and varied office resources for employees to work both independently and in teams, such as individual work stations, focused/quiet work areas, unstructured space, and collaborative work spaces with different technology resources. SGH’s headquarters at 20 CityPoint incorporates a gallery on the first floor where clients and visitors can observe and interact with ongoing activities in the company’s physical and materials testing, laboratory, and experimentation areas.

MPA successfully assisted SGH with an accelerated design process for the Prudential space for an August 2018 occupancy. Concurrent with the Prudential design, MPA advanced the planning and design for the CityPoint space so that SGH and Boston Properties could incorporate the tenant improvements into the ongoing construction of the new building. The CityPoint location is expected to be complete in August 2019. Boston Properties is the landlord for both locations.

The project team includes:

-Architect: Margulies Perruzzi Architects
-Developer: Boston Properties
-Construction Manager: Commodore Builders
-Structural Engineer: Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (SGH)
-MEP Engineer: AHA Consulting Engineers

About Margulies Perruzzi Architects
As one of New England’s top architectural and interior design firms, Margulies Perruzzi Architects (MPA) designs Workplace, Health+Science, and Real Estate projects that inspire and nurture human endeavor. More information may be found at www.mp-architects.com.

Media Contact:
Michele Spiewak
Rhino PR