Posts tagged modern office
Why Collaborating Online Is Sometimes Better than Face-to-Face

As published in the Harvard Business Review, online collaboration is not necessary a “second-best substitute for face-to-face work.” Instead, online communication can complement the collaboration process, offering its own perks and benefits.

Online collaboration not only helps bridge teams across different time zones and distances, it also facilitates speedy and efficient communication: “By solving time problems it creates the benefit of 24/7 production cycles; by solving distance problems it enables newly diverse teams; and by solving communication problems it lets us work together in ways that tap into a broader set of skills and capacities.”

To explore the perks and benefits of online collaboration, check out HBR’s article.

8 Secrets of the Modern Workplace

imageTaking down the cubicle walls isn’t enough anymore. Retaining talent now also requires quiet places, work-from-home-flexibility, and an eye on the bottom line, according to panelists at Bisnow’s NY Office of the Future event, held Thursday, June 12.

1) Employees Should Be as Happy as Pharrell Williams

WeWork is one of the office sector’s most innovative players, but co-founder Miguel KcKelvery says the company wasn’t founded to create futuristic office; it was founded for the here and now. The idea was to create a place for companies trying to start something new for the world, companies that could use a spark. Folks working nonstop like that, he says, need to be empowered by their workspace and feel happy when there.

2) Cult of Equality

By the end of the year, 9,000 of Credit Suisse’s 50,000 employees will be working in open workspaces, says Americas Head of Workplace Strategy Phil Kirschner. No exceptions will be made for managers at any level - if you want a corner office, you better bring a protractor and some tape.

CBRE Managing Director of Workplace Strategiy Lenny says companies spend 75% of their capital on people, so a good workplace can’t be about just efficiency; it has to consider the employees. CBRE’s own Workplace 360 program has already converted 18 of its offices, including its LA HQ, into open spaces with no assigned desks, even for the CEO. Ten years ago, Bloomberg took the bold step to put all employees on trading desks, says Global Head of Real Estate & Facilities Lauren Smith. It was a cultural strategy, she adds, not motivated by real estate.

Culture as a workplace factor is a simple concept but far from mainstream. Moderator, Macro Consultants’ Michael Glatt, did a recent change-management presentation for a 10M SF client that didn’t have an HR rep involved in the process.

3) Working from Home Is a Reality

Considering employees are required to work from anywhere at any time, remote working is a logistical necessity, says Lauren. But Bloomberg also believes it’s important for each employee to have his or her own space, a “home” to come back to. JetBlue Corporate Real Estate VP Richard Smyth says 95% of the company’s Salt Lake City call center employees work from home. The company’s LIC HQs (two-and-a-half years old) offers open, collaborative space with no exterior offices and few interior ones. For all that the company demands of its employees, giving them the ability to work from home makes sense, he notes.

4) Amenities Matter

For the young employees at Twitter, the workplace is their life, says the company’s Facilities Project Manager Rowen Ash. They don’t leave for lunch. Instead, they take their laptops somewhere else in the office to eat and work in a more social environment. For this younger generation, their coworkers are their friends, blending work life with social life. The workplace, then, is like an extension of the college dorms. Twitter takes pains to make the office a pleasant place to work and socialize.

5) Flexible Workplaces Are Long-Term Hedges

Recruitment plays a part in real estate decisions, but corporations do not know for certain what environment employees of the future will find most productive. Consider a company that signs a 10-year lease today. The entry-level employees it will be recruiting by the end of that term are in 8th grade right now. Flexibility means more than just open workspaces, Lenny says. Employees need a place to work solo when they need to concentrate. Without that option, workplace satisfaction drops. Bloomberg made the mistake of going too dense, Lauren says, with 100 SF per person. What she hears from new recruits is that they want the choice of both open and private spaces.

6) Change Is Inevitable

An office in a rectangular, steel building used to signal that a company had arrived, says Colliers Tri-State Region President Michael Cohen. Now, Sony is moving into an 80-year-old Flatiron property that was built for Rose & Rose Actuaries. He cautions that as conversions to office continue and SF per person ratios compress, landlords should be aware of their certificates of occupancy.

7) Experimentation Is the First Step

Sony is completely rethinking its workplace strategy in advance of its early 2016 relocation, says Facilities Project Manager Jennifer Fordham. That includes reducing space by half while increasing amenities and maintaining the same number of employees. GSA Planning & Design Quality Director Mina Wright, who works under tight budget scrutiny, advises those who want to try a new format should pilot-test it, even if on a small scale. Move into closer quarters, and have executives push their desks together. When the benefit is proven, it can be rolled out more broadly. Director of Workplace at Perkins+Will Rachel Casanova agrees, pointing out that design is an art, not a science. She add that designers should not be afraid to test and refine their work. Avison Young Tri-State Region President Arthur Mirante notes that most companies love turnkey office space nowadays for the blank slate it offers.

8) Neighborhood Is Key

RXR Realty’s Bill Elder says the right environment will guarantee a building is a winner, regardless of submarket. David points out that hip locations like RXR’s Starrett-Lehigh Building or others near the High Line often trump proximity to transit. Meanwhile, Philippe Visser of Related is counting on the combination of Hudson Yards’ retail (three times as much as at Time Warner Center) amid millions of SF of office to attract tenants.

Adapted from Bisnow, originally published June 16, 2014.


Innovant + TPG Architecture Wine & Cheese Event

Last week, a team from TPG Architecture gathered at Innovant’s Manhattan showroom for a cocktail reception and product review. This event marks an exciting moment for both companies as TPG will be moving to its new NYC office, which has been specified with Innovant’s FORm_office product.


The WSJ Says Goodbye to the Office Cubicle

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Say Goodbye to the Office Cubicle, Ben Kesling describes how workplace design has changed to reflect the way people now work. He states that “postcubicle offices began to crop up in earnest about a decade ago, inspired by changes in the way people worked. They feature lower walls between desks, or even no walls, and more areas designed for conversation, to encourage impromptu problem-solving sessions.”

Apart from the benefit of increasing productivity with open plan office environments, Kesling explains that benching helps “shrink [the] space and costs” of previous office plans. Other benefits of benching include “workspace flexibility” and the sense that workers are no longer “tethered to [their] workstations.”

We join the WSJ in saying farewell to the confines of the cubicle. Hello to flexible, open plan workplaces. 


Clean Modern Work Environments at Rallye Motors 

S4 Installation 

Innovant’s FORm_office S4 is uniquely designed for flexible open-plan work environments, with advanced adaptable features, it’s an ideal solution for any work environment. Often, our clients are looking for a clean, modern workstation, with technology management to maintain a clutter free environment. A recent example is the FORm_office installation at Rallye Motors, one of the largest Mercedes Benz dealers in the United State. The overall design concept, from Interior Architects, was to project a European high-end look that re-creates the Mercedes Benz worldwide appeal.  The solution was our S4 configuration, with white and aluminum finishes, to further embody their showroom aesthetic.

Rallye Motor’s wanted a single solution platform that could easily be adapted  to meet the needs for their two end user groups. Their requirements were to provide flexibility for user access, and the ability to easily modify their personal workstation. In addition, the system needed to provide hidden cable management, and personal storage solutions for above and below the desktop.

S4 presented a clean intelligent desk solution that improved the overall feel of the space, and projected a sense of refinement. Collaborating with architects, designers, and end users, we strive to provide the right solution for your new workplace at a competitive price.  Whether it’s the office, the bullpen, or the showroom, the right system is essential to a high performance work environment. 

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Modern Benching for Traders

Innovant recently installed 74 FORm_office™ S4T trading positions for a Strategic Investment management firm in Mid-town Manhattan. Working closely with architects from HLW International to provide traders with an optimal ergonomic workstation and office space; providing comfort for what is often 10 and 12 hour work days.

The layout of the office space is open with floor to ceiling windows and an abundance of natural light. The sleek modern design of Innovant’s FORm_office S4T benching system contributes to the space’s overall contemporary feel. Each desk provides technology support both above and below the work surface. Built in to the desktop are power and data ports for the user’s convenience.  The large work surfaces and ample storage allow for the perfect balance of an open office feeling and sense of personal space. 


Innovant Featured in July Issue of Interior Design Magazine

On most trading floors around the world, the work environment seems to be one aspect that they all have in common. Traders hectically run around all day long, intensely keeping their eyes on the news tracker, making sure to be ready at any moment to make a deal to buy or sell their shares in companies around the world. This stressful image is something you won’t see at this Chicago financial services firm featured in the July issue of Interior Design Magazine. This 75,000 square-foot space, designed by architecture firm Perkins + Will, exudes an air of tranquility and peacefulness.  The beautiful office is defined by its organic nature and leaves many astounded by how all the elements of the space fit together perfectly. Natural light floods into the space through the walls of windows that wrap around the sidewalls, and are further emphasized by the tapering structural columns, which appear as though they are descending from the maple-veneered cloud canopy ceiling.                                                                                                      

Throughout the space one key element that allows the traders to connect their work with their office surroundings is through their desk. It is the single element where the technology and organic nature of the floor meet at a single point. Innovant’s FORm_office S120 desks were picked as the perfect medium to connect these two opposing elements together. The desks extend the organic nature of the office beyond just the solid structural walls, by seamlessly integrating the core elements of the business with the design aesthetic envisioned for the space. They combine both the white and maple surfaces used for the ceiling and walls to create a single platform, which wraps around the entire floor to connect the entire space. Managing Principal Tom Kasznia from Perkins + Will said, “Natural elements, for example how water flows, gave us ideas for shape clustered desking systems for all open office areas allowing for one aesthetic to create a visual flow. The fully system addresses the traders’ needs specifically.” The S120 desk greatly appealed to a space, which was designed around these structural columns, as its flexible nature allowed for it to be conformed to the layout of the design.

Looking through the magazine it is clear that this office stands apart from the typical high stress setting of most financial services offices. With light flooding in from all angles, and further complemented by the white and maple surfaces, the traders can immerse themselves in their work without having to be constantly reminded that they are stuck in an office. The peacefully tranquil office setting allows this stressful working environment to be calmed down to one that is constantly reminded of the natural elements of life beyond the working walls. Innovant’s desks allow for this seamless integration to happen between the organic natural elements and their highly technological business core. It’s an office that has the ability to inspire those within it, providing a clear definition for what the modern workplace should be. 


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