Money & Business

Workspace Trends for Associations

By / Feb 1, 2017 (Julien L. Balmer/Stocksy)

What associations should know about buying or renovating a workspace for maximum productivity.

When an association considers moving into a new office, or renovating its existing one, it needs to know how the space can help support and encourage the work of the staff and achieve success for the organization. But what defines the best work environment for employees has evolved over the years.

“In the past, what you would have had is a lot of offices. You have that hierarchy where the more senior people have offices, with open work stations in the middle,” says Thomas Fulcher, executive vice president at commercial real estate firm Savills Studley. “I think what’s happening now is people are reevaluating not just for the sake of getting tighter in terms of space, but reevaluating how they work and saying, ‘How do I most effectively work in my space?’”

As organizations reconsider their workflow, they are increasingly looking for spaces that promote collaboration, communication, and sustainability. Specifically, they have fewer closed-door offices, more open meeting areas, and, in some cases, “bullpen”-style work areas, Fulcher says.

To enhance openness, glass is often installed, and many organizations are choosing more sustainable and accessible buildings located in areas where employees can walk to restaurants and public transit.

Office spaces are also shrinking to bring people closer together and lower costs, a trend that is requiring landlords to offer more amenities. For example, many buildings now offer roof decks, gyms, and conference centers that are included in rent costs.

Many of these trends are a result of the 2008 recession, Fulcher says. When money became tighter, organizations began reevaluating their space to see where they could save, cut, and shrink, opening the discussion around and opportunity to experiment with new office layouts.

“All those things were on the table and really changed the way people looked at office space,” he says.

Alex Beall

Alex Beall is an associate editor for Associations Now with a masters in journalism and a penchant for Instagram. More »

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