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The Future of the Workplace The future of work is changing, and tasks can be completed anywhere. What brings employees back to the office?

A design case study by: Kristina Crawley AIA, NCARB, LEED AP Leif Eikevik AIA, LEED AP Daniel Yudchitz AIA, NCARB, LEED AP


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In the wake of a worldwide health pandemic, many organizations are rethinking their workplace needs. How will this crisis create new workplace typologies and configurations? Furthermore, how can LEO A DALY use new typologies to advise clients through this crisis and set the stage for the office to become the intersection of connection, culture and critical thinking to create innovation? A New Normal Prior to COVID-19, changes to the workplace were already in swift motion. Flexible hours and remote work days were seen as employee benefits. Joining their millenial and older counterparts, Gen-Z employees arrived and ushered in constant connectivity with the expectation of flexible options. Many workers of every generation were striving for balance between increasing commutes and increasing company connectivity and welcomed these changes as they slowly became more integrated into our daily lives. With the arrival of COVID-19 in the United States, practically overnight, stay-at-home orders forced employees and employers to get comfortable with telecommuting. While technical teams worked diligiently to ensure connectivity, the workforce figured out new ways to collaborate with others and see their teams through a successful continuum in a new normal. Workers who were desperate to accelerate workplace changes to meet the demands of the 21st Century helped ensure that this global experiment with remote work would be wildly successful. Collectively, we wanted to prove it could work. After several months of telecommuting, we are now beginning to parse the silver linings of this

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Collaborative and flexible, these huddle-booth meeting areas can be reservati and after each use, and appropriate for 1-2 people.


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global experiment, and opportunities are abundant as we consider networking, business development and talent attraction that is no longer limited by geographic boundaries.

Creating Connection Client engagement, increased communication and transparency in management have led to new methods, analyses and improved results. Workers across the country have honed resilience and discovered new ways of working as we navigated through a crisis. As with most things, the extreme vantage point is rarely accurate–the answer usually lies somewhere in the middle. The office is not dead. In fact, it is still as important than ever, but only if we are open to evolving its meaning, its purpose and its design. The workplace creates opportunity for social connection and engages culture and critical thinking,

leading to innovation. It's the physical identity of an organization. It can be a space that brings employees together and catalyzes a shared mission. Prior to the pandemic, the average office worker in the United States spent roughly 45 hours in the office each week, clocking in well over 2,000 hours each year. That makes the office one of the most heavily used locations for social connection, culture and critical thinking in the modern world. Next, consider how much time and financial investment is spent in the cultural development, management and professional engagement of the talent who comprise these companies–whose measured success is a direct correlation to innovation and achievement. When we take into account these factors, it becomes clear why the workplace was–and continues to be–in desperate need of an evolution.

Purposeful Design Our colleagues and our clients are woven into our social fabric. With COVID-19, social distancing has taken a toll on our psyches with loneliness affecting our mental health and wellness. Many are facing “Zoom fatigue,” as the only human interaction they have is with the front profile of their computer screen. A return to the office will be different, but the office will return. It will serve a different purpose than for what it was previously built, and that will require ingenuity in design. When employees spend much of their time working from home, there will be an increased focus and importance on the design of the office they return to.

The office will evolve, but it won’t disappear. Social connection is the heart of work and place, creating opportunities for innovation. The workplace is the foundation of a company’s image, culture and engagement. This design evolution will be focused on driving innovation and connection.

ion-based, easily sanitized before LEO A DALY


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The New Workplace Real estate costs are often the largest expenses for companies–in some cases, more expensive than the human talent. For this reason, we have seen a reduction in the overall leased space for companies. Practical Measures & Cost Savings The last decade has seen a shift toward open workplans, benching and mixed-use headquarters in an effort to reduce the overall leased space for a company and reduce real estate costs. As we have shifted to work-from-home during COVID-19, some of these costs have shifted to employees, who must now pay for faster WiFi connectivity, increased mobile phone usage and even subscriptions to conferencing solutions when their employer-funded plans are inadequate. However, even when both employers and employees consider readjusting expectations for these costs, most still consider some time spent working from home to outweigh any potential negatives. A USAToday study revealed the average worker will save $4,000 per year by working from home, while the average savings for the employer is $11,000 per year. In a two-parent working household, the savings can be even greater when you consider reduced commuting expenses and childcare flexibility.¹ It’s no surprise that many workers consider remote offerings a benefit to their total compensation package.

Distanced–Not Disconnected The pandemic has offered opportunities to shift the way we view the workplace while encouraging innovation, increased efficiencies and reduced costs for companies and owners alike. Practically overnight, stay-at-home orders made employees and employers LEO A DALY

The design of the new workplace will focus less on desk space and more on huddle rooms, open air conference rooms and informal furniture groupings in order to provide improved opportunities for collaboration and engagement, leading to greater innovation.

suddenly comfortable with telecommuting. During this social experiment, and the longer it proceeds, with some estimates exceeding more than twelve months, employers are concerned about disconnection and disengagement. The design of the new workplace will require a focus on engagement, culture and critical collaboration. The new workplace must offer an experience that cannot be replicated at home. Workplace design will focus on the engagement and connection that is needed for forward momentum and industry innovation. Moving forward, one could easily imagine a future where commercial office tenants choose to radically reduce their square footage while increasing functionality through design innovation.


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Shrinking square footage while maximizing functionality

Some workers may return to the office, some may remain remote while still others may return to the office only intermittently. It is that middleground that seems to be the most likely–where most employees will work remotely at least one day of the workweek. In a survey from LinkedIn, published before the pandemic in 2019, 82% of workers wanted to work from home at least one day per week.² The pandemic provides the white collar workforce a chance to make this a permanent aspect of their workweek. The new program for the office will not be focused on desks and seats, but instead on the enhanced experience of connection, culture and innovation, which will be a critical turning point for the workforce. As organizations evaluate workday and workplace options, spaces that can achieve a new level of adaptability will be valued for their utility. Subsequently, high-performance adaptive compact work environments will receive increased emphasis when employees converge upon the office.

A USAToday study revealed the average worker will save $4,000 per year by working from home, while the average savings for the employer is $11,000 per year. In a two-parent working household, the savings can be even greater when you consider reduced commuting expenses and childcare flexibility.¹ It’s no surprise that many workers consider remote offerings a benefit to their total compensation package. LEO A DALY


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Spaces with specific and singular uses will give way to a flexible framework designed to accommodate and adapt to a wider range of activities and experiences.

Workplace environment schedule Pre-COVID

“We can’t design our way out of this,” Rachel Gutter, President of International WELL Building Institute, said during a national presentation about How to Build and Market Healthy Buildings to commercial real estate professionals on June 23, 2020.

Workplace environment schedule 16% Pre-COVID

It’s clear workplace and commercial design will change and will be driven by strategic planning and nimble pandemic response as a foundation for the future. John Macomber of the Harvard Business School contends that a healthy building will be mandatory in the future for commercial, workplace and hospitality construction. “There won’t be a premium for the healthy building, but there will certainly be a discount for a building that has not adopted these standards," he said during a national commercial real estate virtual panel conversation in June 2020.

Fulltime Remote

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Workplace environment schedule 16% Hybrid Pre-COVID

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During 16% COVID

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80% COVID During

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80% During COVID Fulltime Remote

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Post-COVID Hybrid

40-60% Fulltime Remote

15-35% Hybrid

Hybrid Fulltime Office

10% 10% Hybrid Fulltime Office

10% 10% Fulltime Office

10-20% Hybrid 10% Fulltime Office

10-20% Hybrid Exception Fulltime Office

25-50% 10-20%

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Hybrid Exception

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Workplace and commercial design will change and will be driven by strategic planning and pandemic response as a foundation for the future. John Macomber of the Harvard Business School contends that a healthy building will be mandatory in the future for commercial, workplace and hospitality construction.

There won't be a premium for the healthy building, but there will certainly be a discount for a building that has not adopted these standards." John Macomber Harvard Business School

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The Impact to Office Building Design Our study determined two strategies for achieving user modulation within the workplace: Flex in Place and Flex in Space. These strategies will provide what companies demand: evolution within a flexible framework. Short Term: Flex in Place Reopening the workplace safely, with a sensitive approach to each company’s culture and long-term vision, is part of a strategic planning process that can provide immediate flexibility with long-term structural change management. Using this as a guide, we have identified short-term interventions any workplace can adapt now, and which can evolve into lasting positive and opportunistic changes. The workplace is no longer static. To be truly flexible in the post-COVID workplace, we identified a “designing in 4D” process. This process is similiar to data-driven programming, in which qualitative and quantitative surveying occurs, but also adds the element of time–understanding that there will be larger impacts to the workplace with greater combinations of work-styles, including WFH (workfrom-home) and WFA (work-from-anywhere), and that the conventional workplace tasks may no longer apply. To start, we analyzed the standard workplace programming questions and began with critical points to address, which include: • Workforce management • Breakdown of information silos and creation of a portal for all internal data and communication • Increased operational efficiency • Keeping a company culturally relevant LEO A DALY


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• Partnering with operations to create a physical space that is seamlessly integrated with company policy and operations • Delivering more precise and accurate data to help leaders make refined, strategic decisions • Connecting and aligning an entire multi- generational organization, remotely • Facilitating collaboration among dispersed teams and increasing innovation and productivity Resulting responses conclude paradigm and structural workplace shifts, dramatically advanced post-COVID. Conventional methods of data-gathering for programming would sort these into categories– instead, we look for the overlapping and underlying connections as they directly inform the spatial design and flexible conditions for a company’s future. Next, we move to specific qualitative questions, based on the common conditions, which are developed to address these design opportunities. Data-driven is not without analysis. While our data yields an abundance of information, it is the analysis which drives the workplace innovation.

Flexible Environments: Short Term Changes with a Lasting Impression Combining activity-based furniture groupings with an elastic mix of huddle rooms, conference rooms of lesser capacity (but combinable) and private offices with shared space between, you can flex to safelydistanced workspaces while planning for reservationbased options in the long-term. Doing this in a gradual manner ensures staff feel comfortable will provide greater measures of health, wellness and satisfaction while moderately adjusting flexibility. Reduction of footprint can be offered with an officecombination (two offices with a shared 2-3 person huddle room between) which, when combined with strategic planning, have been proven in our recent design experience to reduce real estate square footage, reduce build-out cost and ensure maximum flexibility now and into the future. We have averaged 18-25% reduction in footprint with a residual effect on build-out costs and operational efficiencies ultimately resulting in greater cost savings.

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Near- and Long-Term The design case study outlined on the following pages identifies specific design interventions for a company headquarters, but what about an entire office building? How do we now consider multiple workplaces in one building environment?

The Future: Flex in Space As we look to the future of the workplace, the ultimate question is: how do we optimize space utilization in this new paradigm? Designing and planning with a focus on the fourth dimension of time allows us to identify innovative programming opportunities. Where there was once a more uniform approach to full team officing, the range and type of flexiblity desired by our clients differs by company structure. Through analyis and design provocations, we partner

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with leadership to create a physical space that aligns with policy and reinforces company mission. • Where is flexibility needed? • When do workers come to the office? • What types of tasks are best performed in the office? The answers to these questions will differ, depending on the organization, and will inform a "flex in space" framework for workplace design. A few strategies that we are exploring within this framework include: • Flexible Zoning – Through diagramatic and data driven analysis, we are able to identify distinct parameters and derive spatial organization from the analysis. Workplace considerations such as acoustics, tasks and activity types can drive


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dynamic office concepts and inform design strategies. • Dynamic zoning – A nimble approach that allows for zones to change and adapt over the course of time, and even over the course of a single day. • Flexible infrastructure – Light weight dividers can be moved, reconfigured and adapted to accomodate changing needs throughout the workplace. • Dispersed offices – Some organizations may find value in decentralized offices to reduce commute times for employees, while still providing the collaborative environment as a resource to employees. • Density monitoring – Visualizing how people move through the building. This provides the ability to direct employees to specific areas to regulate density throughout the workplace. • Outdoor work spaces – Specifically designed to maximize comfort modulate climate and functionality in a particular climate to enable effective outdoor work environments. As we consider buildings not as something static, but as something dynamic that can adapt and flex to a particular need, we can provide effective strategic responses, leading us to explore new materials, assemblies and technologies. We have been given the opportunity to implement this new toolkit in experientially inspiring ways to improve work environments while ensuring the health and safety of employees.

Colliers International Vice President of Workplace Advisory Michelle Cleverdon said she predicts the workplace will become something like a clubhouse – a space to gather, fostering connections and collaboration, whether for brainstorming with coworkers or making a presentation to clients. "You're going to need less space for desks," she said. "The office is where I'd want to go and connect with people." Architecture plays a key role in this workplace evolution, providing opportunities for workforces to converge and disperse at the right times. The outcome will be a better quality of life for workers, improved efficiency for companies and novel development opportunities for building owners.

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Case Study: HQ Design Process Addresses PostPandemic Workplace LEO A DALY's workplace design team was midway through design documentation on a headquarters design project when the public health crisis hit the United States.


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Strategic Planning: Data-Driven, Flexible & NeedsBased Assessments A return to the office requires designled strategic planning. We used a similar categorization as those required in change management under workplace conditions: • Immediate changes (3-6 months) • Near-term adjustments (6-12 months) • Long-term evolutions (greater than a year) In tangent with this first step, we completed a needs assessment based on a foundation of the existing office program. This assessment was both quantitative and qualitative.

The client was concerned that before it was even built, their new workplace would no longer meet the needs of their staff in light of the rapid changes occurring due to the pandemic.

In a matter of days, our team mobilized and assessed the existing design, drawing upon our qualitative and quantitative data assessments to reevaluate the programming models for the design. Using virtual reality modeling, we held design discussions resulting in a new design paradigm to uniquely meet the client's needs. The new design includes seamlessly integrated interventions for sanitization, health and safety, addresses mental wellness and provides a flexible environment during this evolving time with the potential for future adaptations.

This effort resulted in a strategy for reopening upon construction completion as well as a plan for evolution over the next three years. This design assessment addressed the percentage of the workforce who may work from home less than 50% of the time and was then fine-tuned to ensure safe, collaborative meeting environments, activity-based desking options, focused work areas and improved production. Flexibility was of utmost importance to the client and played a key role in the design for the company’s headquarters over the next three years. We compared our resulting data with the original design program in order to pinpoint specific changes to address the new workplace environment. This resulted in specific changes to the design.

Design Changes that Work The results of the pandemic planning efforts led to an ultimate reduction of the footprint of their active floorplan by 25%. We introduced a real estate strategy with flexibly subleasable space that could be modified in the future to address additional needs.

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The reduction in floorplan combined with other changes to reduce the total construction cost by 10% and further reduce operational costs for the company.

• Workstations with glass (not solid) privacy screening, so staff can still see each other and communicate, but from a safe distance;

Our analysis resulted in the following changes:

• Additional sinks for handwashing, touchless hardware on doors and fixtures, including in the restrooms and kitchens;

• Doubled the number of 2-3 person huddle rooms to allow for smaller groupings of meetings; • Adjustable and flexible conference rooms designed with the ability to fully open to a public space;  • Furniture groupings for small, informal, open (and socially distanced) activity-based collaboration; 

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• Grab-and-go stations for food and increased coffee break stations to avoid congestion and congregating in smaller kitchen spaces; • Digital Workforce app-based integration for seamless continuity between work-from-home and work-from-anywhere.


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The reduction in floorplan combined with other changes to reduce the total construction cost by 10% and further reduce operational costs for the company.

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Bibliography 1. https://www.usatoday.com/story/ money/2020/03/22/working-home-likely-save-youmoney/5024967002/ 2. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/13/peoplewho-work-from-home-earn-more-than-those-whocommuteheres-why.html

Copyright All text and images © LEO A DALY. LEO A DALY


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About the Authors

Kristina Crawley

Leif Eikevik

Daniel Yudchitz

AIA, NCARB, LEED AP

AIA, LEED AP

AIA, NCARB, LEED AP

Senior Associate, Market Sector Leader KLCrawley@leoadaly.com

Senior Project Manager LTEikevik@leoadaly.com

Senior Design Architect DLYudchitz@leoadaly.com

Kristina has nearly 16 years of experience in commercial mixed-use, hospitality, retail, restaurant and workplace design in the United States and abroad, including commercial and mixeduse projects from Shanghai to South Korea to Dubai. With a passion for contextual design and placemaking, Kristina has published several articles on resilience, international architectural responses to climate change and post-disaster reconstruction.

Leif has more than 13 years of experience in design and project management, leveraging his extensive technical skill and experience to help his clients to meet their design goals. Specializing in leadership of multi-discipline teams to deliver complex projects, his project management expertise spans between high quality design for workplace and complex public projects for community, state and federal clients.

Daniel is a senior design architect in LEO A DALY’s Minneapolis studio. Growing up as the son of an architect gave Dan a passion to create and explore the built environment. He focuses on creating strategies for aspirational design expressions to reinforce the client’s mission and enhance building functionality in a sustainable, economical and impactful manner.

About LEO A DALY LEO A DALY is a leader in the design of the built environment. With more than 800 design and engineering professionals in 29 offices worldwide, we are one of the largest planning, architecture, engineering, interior design, and program management firms in the world. Since 1915, we have had an unyielding focus on design excellence to create exceptional spaces that enhance and enrich the human experience. Our award-winning, diverse portfolio includes projects in more than 91 countries, all 50 US states, and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit www.leoadaly.com. LEO A DALY


PLANNING ARCHITECTURE ENGINEERING INTERIORS

Kristina Crawley KLCrawley@leoadaly.com 202.955.9130 Leif Eikevik LTEikevik@leoadaly.com 612.341.9533 Daniel Yudchitz DLYudchitz@leoadaly.com 612.341.9584 1200 Nineteenth Street, NW Suite 220 Washington, DC 20036 202.861.4600 leoadaly.com

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The Future of the Workplace  

The future of work is changing, and tasks can be completed anywhere. What brings employees back to the office?

The Future of the Workplace  

The future of work is changing, and tasks can be completed anywhere. What brings employees back to the office?

Profile for leoadaly7

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