As competition for employee talent rises, companies throughout the Bay Area seek to move beyond the standard open-floor plan by creating full “employee experiences” within their space. Our project management teams have identified 5 popular trends happening across workplace design in the Bay Area:
- Commercial Kitchens
- Unassigned Workstations
- Living Art
- Social Spaces
- Custom Light Fixtures
The demand for full commercial kitchens has jumped, especially among technology firms. Commercial kitchens take up significant space and are typically more expensive to maintain than contracting with a catering service (not to mention the time and costs associated with getting permits from the health department). Yet a commercial kitchen with an in-house chef (e.g. Weebly pictured above) gives companies control over how food is sourced and served—a key selling point for many younger, health-conscious employees.
Many companies are adopting project-based or activity-based workspaces allowing employees the mobility to temporarily collaborate with their project team. With fewer individually assigned desks and more space dedicated to team collaboration, companies may not need as much space as they thought—or are finding ways to better maximize the space they already have. Our team has found that space planning has decreased from an average of 225 square feet per person to approximately 175-185 square feet per person. (e.g. Lumosity, pictured above.)
Plants are known to improve indoor air quality, reduce noise between work areas, and improve the productivity, creativity and mood of a building’s inhabitants. Creative companies are breaking free from standard potted plants and turning greenery into pieces of indoor art. From concrete walls studded with air plants (e.g. Weebly, pictured above) to indoor “parks” that extend outdoor spaces inward (Pandora), employers are making a conscious effort to incorporate the natural world into the structure of the buildings themselves.
Innovative businesses understand that the cross-pollination of ideas isn’t limited to its conference rooms. To encourage the spontaneous exchange of ideas between different departments they are building gyms, game rooms (e.g. Yammer pictured above), music “jam rooms,” massage rooms and more--many of which come with their own physical requirements such as secondary spaces like laundry rooms, locker rooms, bicycle parking areas, etc.
Custom Light Fixtures
Customized light fixtures are becoming increasingly popular, which means that lead times are getting longer. While the typical lead time for lighting is 6 weeks, custom lighting options can extend lead times to 8 to 10 weeks or more. (Dropbox pictured above)