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Construction & Design

New report concludes happy workers, happy business

JAMIE FEURBORN

Architects are facing increased demand to create work environments that contribute positively to an individual’s well-being.

Desk size is shrinking but employers are creating custom spaces to spark group creativity.

“The conversations we are having today with clients are about how we can create a flexible working environment to best suit their staff,” said Jamie Feuerborn, Director of Workplace Strategy at Ted Moudis Associates, whose annual Workplace Report offers insight into how companies today are using their office space.

“It’s about creating a space that reflects and communicates company values and is attractive to current and potential employees,” added Feurborn.

“However, planning a workspace is not just about data, every organization is unique in their culture and creating a workspace solution should always be carefully strategized and planned.”

The fourth issue of the report helps to solidify trends that TMA has previously identified while also outlining burgeoning workplace developments and delving further into the well-being of employees in office environments.

The report encompasses data from more than 3.3 million square feet of workspace in the technology and digital media, professional services, consumer products, and financial sectors built throughout the United States over the past two years.

TMA’s latest study found that there is an increased demand in creating work environments that contribute positively to an individual’s well-being.

The percentage of projects where every employee is given access to a standing height desk increased more than eight-fold since the firm’s first workplace report in 2016; 74 percent of employees represented in this year’s report are working at a sit-stand desk every day.

While the data also points to a decrease in the usable square foot (USF) per work seat, the more significant change we saw this year was a greater range from the low to the high USF metrics we track.

This indicates that clients are seeking customized environments tailored to their business requirements rather than a one-size-fits-all solution. TMA saw the number of employees engaging in activity-based work settings jump from 24 percent in 2018 to 26 percent in 2019.

An unassigned work environment allows individuals to select a space that is best suited to them and offers organizations greater flexibility when responding to changing business needs. Activity-based workstyles accomplishes both goals while reducing the total area per occupant.

Forecasting workplace trends, TMA expects to see an increase in opportunities or well-being spaces, programs and sensory elements in office design awe well as an increase in truly flexible workplaces to support mobile employees

The company also expects that more meaningful data collection methods will be used by employers to gauge employee expectations.

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