Interiors & Sources - Well Workers: A Look at the Sodexho 2014 Workplace Trends Report

May 01, 2014

BY: Erika Templeton, Adam Moore, Ben Frotscher

When asked, “could you define ‘workplace experience’?” 66.5 percent of Sodexo’s respondents (read: your potential clients) said yes. Here are the top 10 words they used to describe it:
  1. Flexible
  2. Collaborative
  3. Open
  4. Comfortable
  5. Engaging
  6. Productive
  7. Efficient
  8. Fun
  9. Energetic
  10. Supportive
Flexibility is also the number one goal driving the designers we spoke with as well. Part of that stems from the desire to allow employees to organize themselves as needed for fast-moving projects, but it also comes from a more pragmatic reality.“A lot of companies are developing and growing so fast that they really can’t predict what is going to be happening in a few years, or even a few months," said Tanya Naumova, a designer with Montroy Andersen DeMarco Architects (MADGI). “What we do usually is try to design something as adaptable and flexible as possible.”That approach has resulted in a variety of forward-thinking workspaces that function in ways that would have been hard to sell even five years ago. Steven Andersen, principal with MADGI, recalled a financial services client who requested a space that could function interchangeably for trading groups, merger and acquisition teams, and investment groups—three teams with significantly different needs. Designers eventually configured three separate spaces in a block of columns that could be partitioned or combined with the help of flexible walls and raised access floors, allowing facilities staff to build conference rooms, work areas, or other spaces on the fly.“That probably cost us 20 to 30 percent more because it was so flexible, but it’s what they wanted,” Andersen said. “It was great help for the firm, because over the 10 years of the lease, they changed it many, many times, and the cost of flexibility probably paid itself back over the 10 years.”

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