Couches and Lounge Chairs Provided for Employees
No matter how big the kitchen and break area are in our office suites, the tenants in San Francisco’s South of Market (SoMa) expand them. Tech tenants are designing more informal work areas and collaboration areas within their space. These spaces serve as an internal coffee shop or lounge. These areas can also provide an alternative space from the rows of workstations or tables for employees to work. Due to the variety and design in these suites, it can be hard to differentiate whether one is in a hotel lobby, coffee shop, fraternity house, or office. Some tech firms host group lunches to encourage collaboration and require a dining space within an office suite to accommodate this activity.
Here are several pictures from our recent suites ranging from 10,000 to 12,000 square feet displaying these new, collaborative additions.
Oversized Break Area and Kitchen
Dining Area for a 12,000 SF Tenant
Couches for Informal Work Area
Working on a Couch in the Reception Area
An article from Gensler was published recently which discusses what we can learn from a coffee shop relative to the current design of office spaces. One observation the article mentions is to have people sit facing away from walls. When you go into a coffee shop alone and select a seat–you will typically take the seat with your back against the wall and facing out. Gensler concludes that this is the way most people prefer to work.
The article further talks about this method being implemented in one of their studies with fantastic results. The seating approach used has increased collaboration in the office. The way people sit at their desks and can be seen by others allows people to better notice when someone else is available talk or work with. With increased collaboration and respect among employees, this workplace becomes a more comfortable and enjoyable place to be.
The article also points out that different generations of people tend to exhibit the same tastes in regard to seating and working at a coffee shop. This too, can be great for a company that is wanting to transition to a open plan. Knowing that workers of different ages don’t greatly differ in their office style work space tastes will help make the decision to change the layout of the office an easy one.
There are seven points to this article to take into consideration in remodeling or designing creative office space. Companies may experiment with these ideas and possibly make an effort to modify the office plan in order to increase collaborations and creativity throughout the workforce.
We have not tried any of these ideas out. However, we have seen the importance of the kitchen and break area grow. In one 12,000 square foot suite, we built two kitchen and break areas. In another 10,000 square foot deal, the tenant refused to move in until the kitchen break area was totally finished because the tenant viewed it as a critical part of the space.
From white boards to free digital applications that encourage collaboration and organization of work, companies are researching and enacting as many policies and practices as possible so they can to foster inventiveness and ingenuity throughout their employee population. This article from Behind the Counter explores four key strategies that companies are implementing to facilitate creative collaboration among their employees. They are simple tactics that any company can start using to encourage and support their employees to think differently. A company doesn’t have to be a heavy hitter like Google, Groupon, Living Social or Facebook to take advantage of these creative courses of action.
PMI Properties is proud to see most of their tenants already putting into practice at least one of these strategies with outstanding, innovative results. From collaborative areas to exploring new environments. We are happy that our tenants are embracing these innovative trends.