Construction Today - September/October 2017 - 31
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recent study titled "Urban Revival in America, 2000 to 2010," 39 of the
50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas saw more college-educated professionals between 25 and 34 move to downtowns instead of suburbs.
Researchers found that 62 percent of millennials prefer to live in urban areas where they can easily find restaurants, entertainment and
other convenient amenities. The rising demand for housing and retail
in downtown neighborhoods means that overall available space has
Millennials aren't the only ones attracted to this new office concept.
Employers are also seeing the benefits of this design-not only to
attract workers, but to also improve productivity, boost employee retention and encourage creativity. According to a study from the Harvard
Business Review, creating social and inviting workspaces fosters an increased number of unplanned interactions between coworkers. Those
human interactions can actually improve job performance. Working in
an environment that promotes collaboration, employees become more
engaged and are able to tap into an extended network of ideas and innovation. Moreover, a Gallup poll found that employees who are more
engaged and have a high sense of well-being are 59 percent less likely
to look for a job with a different organization in the next 12 months.
They also miss a whopping 70 percent fewer work days.
An open office doesn't necessarily have to be large. On the path
to becoming more open and collaborative, workspaces are actually
becoming smaller. According to Gartner, workers only spend about
40 percent of their time at their desks. As a result, their personal space
is shrinking - in 2001, workers had an average of 300-square-feet of
personal office space, and that number dropped to 225-square-feet in
2010 and 176-square-feet in 2012. Instead, companies are investing
in communal work areas, where group work-which is becoming
increasingly more important to companies-can thrive.
Meeting Modern Needs
The design changes that meet modern needs can be achieved in a
number of ways: new construction, renovation and adaptive reuse.
Looking at the office spaces within Downtown Columbus, Ohio, for
example, a drastic change can be seen in workspace construction
over the last 10 years. Buildings renovated or constructed in the early
2000s feature suites with rows of offices and clusters of high-walled
cubicles, characteristic of office demands at the beginning of the
century. Fast-forward to 2015, when the latest and greatest commercial space inside 250 High hit the market. Built on a thin strip of
land between a parking garage and Columbus' historic High Street,
where no one dared to develop for more than 30 years, this modern
high-rise is currently home to some of the most sought after office
space in the region. Columbus companies, like Resource Ammirati,
Lextant and NBBJ Architecture, quickly jumped at the opportunity
to house their teams in this cutting-edge environment. With rows
Fabcon is on a mission to
double its precast concrete panel setting rates.
New Creation Builders
R.D. Olson Construction
John Moriarty and Associates
T.W. Frierson Contractor Inc.
Messer Construction Co.
JRM Construction Management
of desks (rather than cubicles), common
work areas (rather than offices), and modern
finishes, linear floorplates, outdoor balconies
and plenty of natural light, it's no surprise
the building's office space leased up months
But the trend goes beyond desk placement, light fixtures and color schemes.
Savvy employers are also offering wellness
programs, unique benefits and exciting
company culture to stay ahead of the curve.
While many aspects of good design change
over time, this new shift, emphasizing collaboration and communication, is a welcome
change for working millennials.
Guy Worley is the CEO and president of the Columbus Downtown Development
Corporation, a private, non-profit development corporation with the mission to
lead city-changing projects in the heart of Ohio's capital city.
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017 CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM