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Blog Archive For February

Steve Jobs, Office Design, and Teamwork

Apple Unveils Touch-Screen Tablet DeviceLinkedIn recently explored the mind of the late, great Steve Jobs, with an article by Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute, titled “Why Steve Jobs Obsessed About Office Design (And, Yes, Bathroom Locations).” Isaacson notes, “Even though the Internet provided a tool for virtual and distant collaborations, another lesson of digital-age innovation is that, now as in the past, physical proximity is beneficial. The most productive teams were those that brought together people with a wide array of specialties.” He references Bell Labs, which combined theoretical physicists, experimentalists, material scientists, engineers, businessmen, and telephone-pole climbers to create and patent the first transistor.

When it comes to Jobs, Isaacson writes, “When Steve Jobs designed a new headquarters for Pixar, he obsessed over ways to structure the atrium, and even where to locate the bathrooms, so that serendipitous personal encounters would occur. Among his last creations was the plan for Apple’s new signature headquarters, a circle with rings of open workspaces surrounding a central courtyard.”

Many of these observations boil down to fostering teamwork. In an article for Reliable Plant by Rhonda Savage, titled “The secrets to successful teamwork: Trust and Accountability,” Savage lists 11 nuggets of wisdom to help any office team. The list reads as follows:

    1. Define the duties.
    2. Be clear with prospective employees during the interview process.

 

  • Define your expectations in a workplace policy manual.

 

    1. Outline the time commitment and set aside adequate time for each task.
    2. Be careful to not overload your staff with too many commitments or too many interruptions.
    3. Follow through by putting a note on your calendar to check on progress.

 

  • Avoid showing favoritism toward specific team members.

 

  1. Encourage your team members to stand up and lead!
  2. Open the lines of communication by having an open-door policy.
  3. Ask your team members to bend over backwards for each other.
  4. True teamwork means encouraging individual leadership development.

Visionaries like Jobs and others in Silicon Valley have pursued innovative workspaces to put these suggestions into practice. You too can foster this kind of environment in your office with the help of Office Space Planners. Our expert designers and project managers offer a variety of services, including analysis, commercial space planning, project management, and move coordination.

Being an innovator doesn’t mean you have to dream up the best new ideas on your own. For any of your office planning, design, and project management needs, you can count on Office Space Planners!

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Foster Creativity in Your Office

The ideal office space provides more than just a space for employees to work in—it provides a place where employees can be content and productive while working. Modern trends in office design emphasize creating a quality work environment which allows employees to be efficient and happy. Here are some ideas on how to make your office a creatively inclined one:

-Allow your employees to personalize their spaces. Workers are most productive when in an office which feels to some degree like home. Encourage employees to bring personal items, photos, and other keepsakes which foster a community environment in your workplace. If you are truly adventurous, you may even allow employees to bring pets to work!

-Let employees choose their own means of being creative. Let them customize coffee mugs, arrange their office area at their discretion, and express themselves through their own design.

-Not all office conventions are correct—you don’t need one desk per person! At many offices, only a few desks are being used at a time, and many end up wasting valuable space and resources. Thanks to mobile technology, an elaborate desk and cubicle setup is not strictly necessary. Think about ways to plan your desk arrangement to economize!

-Zone your workspace. Urban planners consciously plan communities so that buildings with common functions are close together. Organize your office in a similar way and you’ll like the results! Place comfortable chairs together rather than spreading them out across the room, if you like. If an employee wants to grab a snack or coffee, put all food and drink options in the same place—just like placing several retail and food service outlets together in an urban zone, it caters to the consumer (or, in this case, employee) and makes his or her experience a positive one!

-Have concentrated work in mind when designing. Make sure that your workers have locations in which they can feel inspired to work for several hours uninterrupted. Small business owners in particular must cater to their workers’ focus and contentment. An arrangement of varying types of comfortable working areas will help immensely toward this aim.

Office design is a delicate art—a balance must be struck between a laid-back atmosphere which makes employees feel at home and a productive atmosphere which feels like work. At Office Space Planners, we have experience planning successful offices which strike this balance in all fifty states—call today!

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Office Space on the Rise in Europe

The market for office space might be due for a boom in Europe. Though the European Union at large has been cash-strapped since the 2008 Great Recession, it seems the tide is turning on at least one front. Findings from global real estate advisor CBRE anticipate a growth in demand for prime office space in European city centers.

CBRE’s Senior Director of EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) Research, Richard Holberton, noted that the downturn has taken its toll. “It is no secret that in recent years corporate occupiers have been constrained by stringetnt cost management strategies born out of the economic downturn.” But Holberton expects a change of track: “Now, things are changing in line with an improving economic environment, which we expect to have material impact on the office market this year. With grade A space in short supply across Europe… the expectation is that prime rents will move to an upward trajectory in more markets.”

The change would be a welcome one for Europe’s current climate. Despite expectations of growth, Europe’s total office take-up for the first quarter of 2014 has been on par with the first quarters of the previous recession years. However, two major European cities, Madrid and Paris, have seen drastic recent improvement, which may bode well for the rest of Europe. Low-rent office spaces in prime city locations were the key to these cities’ success.

Prague may be next in line for office market growth. Grade A markets are in large supply in the Czech Republic, as it boasts available buildings with suspended ceilings, raised floors, up-to-date heating and cooling systems, abundance of parking spaces, and magnetic card entry systems. The upward trend may be primed to spread to other major European commerce centers.

As demand for office space rises, the rent for available spaces will trend upward. Higher-quality office spaces are in tight supply in most of Europe, and growing occupier confidence along with positive trends in the economy may move major markets into prime rental growth. London has already seen this effect set in, as prime rent has increased by five percent there so far this year.

While demand for offices is returning in Europe, it has never left the United States. Office Space Planners offers service in planning, designing, and creating office spaces—and has done so in all fifty U.S. states! Office Space Planners is committed to creating the highest quality work environments, and matching your company’s needs with the office that will optimize performance.

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The Cloud and Your Office

Two words that have begun to strike fear in the heart of office workers these days are: The Cloud. So much has been discussed and talked about concerning the Cloud – and his potential to revolutionize how offices work – that people have a hard time understanding what the Cloud actually is. Here’s a simple Read the full article…


How to Create Office Space on a Budget—Part Two

An earlier blog from Office Space Planners relayed some of Overbury office fit-out specialist Chris Booth’s tips on practical, cost-effective office space design. Mr. Booth had so many good tips in his interview with Forbes that it’s worth another post to pass on some more! -Always spend wisely. An obvious guideline when designing on a Read the full article…


How to Create Office Space on a Budget?

Finding or designing an ideal office space can be among the greatest challenges a business owner faces. The goal is to impress clients, fill all major work needs, and keep employees happy—but it can be difficult to draw the line between a luxury and an absolute need. Can you do without a foosball table? Is Read the full article…


Office Space for Introverts?

You would expect the author of a book called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking to disapprove of a massive corporate campus with a single room capable of holding ten thousand people. And Susan Cain, whose 2012 book became a bestseller and generated huge internet buzz about the joys Read the full article…


Office Transformations

A half-century ago, the so-called “office of the future” was envisioned as a totally paperless environment. Today, the concept is the subject of continual discussion as design-minded entrepreneurs introduce cutting-edge concepts that, shortly after being introduced, often evolve into something even more creative. And while it’s always entertaining to imagine a workplace filled with personable Read the full article…


Avoiding Telecommuting Pitfalls

The typical telecommuter, according to figures from a recent Census Bureau survey, is 49 years old (male or female), has a college degree and makes a little less than 60K per year. That’s a far cry from the days when telecommuters were believed to be mothers with small children or twenty-somethings slapping together projects on Read the full article…


Feng Shui for Your Office

Fans of feng shui – an ancient Chinese practice that champions harmonizing human life with earthly surroundings — swear by its positive effects. While the history of feng shui is a long and detailed one stretching back 3,000 or more years, its modern application can perhaps best be understood as the art of arranging objects, Read the full article…