Brokers Break the Mold

Six Ideas for Today’s Office Design Looking to tweak your office design? Keep these six ideas in mind.

1. The trend is techie. “Everybody’s doing the tech look,” says Edin Rudic, creative director at MKDA, an architecture and design firm in New York City. “It’s a hybrid of an industrial, cool, casual, and open lofty space with concrete floors and industrial-looking lighting. It’s semicasual and accommodates personal comfort. Contradictory as this sounds, however, spaces are shrinking. You can usually calculate 150-220-plus rentable square foot per person.”

2. “Benching” is big. “People are being squeezed more into the benching idea, which is great because they communicate more,” says Rudic. What’s benching? Picture a Wall Street trading office with lower-than-typical cubicle walls.

3. Comfort nurtures creativity. “More casual and humane spaces foster great ideas,” says Rudic. “They make people more creative, excited, and friendlier, and that should result in more productivity. They also improve client relationships; they send the message the company cares for its people and is open-minded and interested in new ways of doing things.”

4. Lounge areas are smart. “Companies are taking more space for lounge areas,” says Rudic. “If the business grows, they can always be turned into more work space. They’re also creating shared spaces with things like dartboards, ping pong, or video games.”

5. Multipurpose spaces are very important. “If you have an open cafeteria space, an adjacent conference room, and a lounge, by adding movable walls, you can have things like town hall meetings,” says Rudic. “Traditional conference rooms don’t work anymore because they’re too isolated.”

6. Agents may need a place of their own. “I don’t know how ready most people are for shared spaces,” says Rudic. “It’s our nature to look for a place we can grow roots. The trend in some offices is for workers to ask for one room with lockers to keep their personal stuff, and then they’re willing to switch desks.”

The full story about how real estate agents are designing their office space is in the May/June 2013 Real Estate Business magazine.