Design professionals are at the forefront of sweeping changes occurring in many workplaces on an international level, however these changes are especially salient in the Bay Area due to the region’s cultural history and rate of technological innovation.
Competition among tech companies to attract and retain the most talented employees has also fueled a steady evolution of what can be expected in today’s workplace culture and physical spaces, for both office and R&D environments.
For Eric Ibsen, chief design officer at FORGE, there are other factors at play in the evolution of workplace design. The Bay Area’s workforce is marked by transplants from other parts of the country as well as the globe who often work long hours in demanding, high-paced tech positions and may lack close-knit communities outside of the office.
A greater amount of amenities offered and comfortable work areas help cater to people who spend more time at the workplace. Although these changes do stem from competition among companies to attract and retain talent, they also arise from companies adopting a more conservative approach to their real estate holdings.
“I’m seeing the pendulum swing back to the earlier version of the open office environment,” Ibsen offered. “The individual employee’s footprint will continue to stay small, and to make up for it, amenity footprints and common areas will increase. We’re trying to accommodate a larger workforce with less space. Companies are trying to make their real estate dollar stretch as far as it can while attracting great people and staying productive.”