4B — August 9 - 22, 2019— Central New Jersey — M id A tlantic

Real Estate Journal


C entral NJ

By Casey Murphy, NICDQ, HF Planners, LLC Modern workplace trends to consider when planning your office space


esigning for the mod- ern workplace looks very differently than

the generational gaps be so significant in today’s climate? Because countless decisions are made by assumptions associated with different gen- erations, despite the fact that the US Census Bureau only recognizes Baby Boomers as a named generation (Bump). So how is the modern facil- ity manager supposed to keep up with these growing needs and trends? There are several key factors that need to be considered thoughtfully and accurately to design a modern office. Technology drives a space’s function as much or more than

they want to use the space, but also with any internal IT teams (Spence). Does the company have standards to adhere to? Questions need to be asked up front about incor- porating European ports, to conference room booking, to data needs in the paper towel dispenser (O’Brien). If we are now incorporating web access into restrooms, the Internet of Things (IOT) is officially part of a Facility Manager’s vocabu- lary. It permeates all aspects of the design process and should be weighed as heavily as how many people are going to use this space. In the long run,

proper use of technology will save time and money. Acoustic issues are complex and many in today’s modern office. Company heads have vi- sions of sweeping open offices, while facility managers face complaints of noise control. Glass walls, hard flooring, low or no furniture panels, and open ceilings all contribute to the problem. Designers now need to incorporate white noise systems, floating acoustic ceil- ing treatments, and consider a group’s activity level when pro- gramming. Sound generated by densely packed employees has no place to go, and bounces all over the space, creating Noise. Noise is detrimental to a productive workforce, in the form of decreased productivity and focus with increased stress (LoBosco). Once acknowledged, the potential issues can use Absorption, Isolation, Sound masking and Space planning as assets instead of roadblocks. Employers now recognize that a happy, healthy em- ployee is a productive one, which according to the WELL building standards means engaging the body, mind, and soul (Drukenmiller). This con- cept has taken the forefront, focusing on Natural Elements, Nourishment, Senses, Move- ment and Community. All of which must now be considered as the work space is planned. Ask if the employees have ac- cess to healthy food throughout the day. If not, perhaps the program needs to include a micro-pantry. Consider if the facility has access to outdoor space to exercise or natural light. These considerations must be folded into the ongoing need for thermal comfort and indoor air quality. Related, but not exactly the same are the LEED standards. LEED has not gone away or been replaced; now it needs to be incorporated with sustainable building practices with those that also benefit the employ- ee’s well-being. (Natarajan). Since Tom Rath published Eat Sleep Move , countless ar- ticles have been peddling the conclusion “sitting is the new smoking”, and corporations have been paying much closer attention to their employee’s wellness. The idea that we’re only working while sitting in a chair staring at a computer is going to the wayside. This attitude, along with remote continued on page 12B

any other in today’s modern office. Recently, projects in- clude so many unexpected technology requirements, that storage, biophilic elements and ancillary seating may be cut from the budget to accommo- date the ever-growing technol- ogy requirements. Employees need to be able to live-chat with their colleagues across the world at the click of a but- ton, and a facility manager’s life is made much easier if he/ she can close all of the shades from their phone. Early in the design process it is important to sit down not only with the end-users to find out how

i t d i d 1 5 years ago. It is comprised o f techno l - ogy dr i ven space, acous- t i c Rubik ’ s cube puzzles to solve, new awareness of

Casey Murphy

healthy living, Activity-Based Workplace (ABW), and co- working, all with three work- ing generations whose work values often seem to battle each other. And why should


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