One of the key takeaways from the BisNow “Office of the Future” event is that forward-thinking office environments of 2020 have a large focus on amenities (especially in the New Jersey market). While fostering happy employees, organizations see their most notable spikes in productivity. In a world where immersion in technology can be the sole basis of engagement to some, people yearn for real connection with real people. The ultimate amenity is life itself, and office landlords and tenants aren’t neglecting this reality.
What this translates to from a design/construction strategy: there is an overall intent toward amenity spaces allowing physical connectivity. By challenging to step into the mind of the tenant working in a space every day, there is a pulse behind amenity spaces. Overall satisfaction is grown through offering common eateries, yoga classes, pinball machines, etc in a communal area that can even allow multiple tenants to network with each other.
A panel member, Ralph Zucker, is the President of Somerset Development, a company behind the revitalization of the iconic Bell Works facility in Holmdel, NJ. Bell Works is a 2-million-square-foot building that is the real-life depiction of these “office of the future” thoughts at work. Once home to a world-class laboratory that produced the transistor, the touch-tone phone, and eight Nobel Prizes. The property has become an indoor “downtown,” with stores, restaurants, a library, offices and a hotel.
Another predominant trend, green energy, is seen within Bell Works with their Photovoltaic Panels. Bell Works’ famed glass skylights just got a major upgrade in the form of one of the world’s largest photovoltaic glass arrays, generating solar energy throughout the day. As buildings become more and more efficient, this is a cost-effective option in office spaces, slashing electric bills.
With collaboration top of mind in the “Office of the Future,” Audio-Visual partnerships go a long way. When you have a grasp on how employees need to work together toward their unique goals, you can plan out AV solutions to support this. There are a few areas design professionals can enhance conference communication and sound wave movement through panels in conference rooms, reducing extra noise while on calls. Also, better lighting around areas intended for video conference can help the overall operation of an office.
Successful office construction requires an intense consideration for the human factor—especially in an increasingly mobile world. Today’s offices are taking design cues from hotels and even homes. Landlords and tenants alike aren’t letting it go unnoticed.