Can We Agree to Ditch the Term “Creative Workspace”?
Today’s workspaces promote personal interaction, eliminate hierarchies and encourage collaboration—so let’s call them human workspaces, rather than creative.
Everyone seems to agree that “creative office” has become an over-used term, and that the trend has extended beyond creative companies. In fact, almost every industry today is considering some form of this new style of office space. But, if “creative office” is the wrong term, what is the right one? Many companies have adopted alternative phrasing, like open office plans or modern workplace strategy. While everyone’s office space is different and bespoke to the company, these office spaces share several commonalities, from a focus on design to ample communal space to flexible desks or work areas. Essentially, they are human workspaces. We sat down with Andy LaDow, regional managing director at Colliers International who just completed a human workplace strategy at the firm’s San Diego office, to talk about the terminology and what these spaces—whatever they are called—have in common.
GlobeSt.com: What are the defining characteristics of today’s office space?
Andy LaDow: Creative office used to be the tag line, but creative is really no longer really the right word for it. From my perspective as a business operator, there are three things that are driving this change. The first thing is the technology. The way of doing business today is a lot different and a lot more flexible, and you have access to a lot more information at your fingertips. That drives the ability to work anywhere and at anytime. Also, by creating more open workspaces and common areas, it creates as a business operator, greater flexibility so that I can scale up or scale down, or make adjustments to my workspace. The third piece is greater efficiencies. We the past with private office environments, we would be at 350 square feet per employee. Now, though this new model, you can get that number down to the low 200s or even lower.
GlobeSt.com: If creative office is no longer the right term, what is?
LaDow: Prior office environments were really hierarchical, and based upon your perceived or real achievements within the organization, you were awarded physical status in the workplace, and I think that is the primary thing that has changed. People across the industry platform re being treated equally at different levels, and that creates more of a dynamic, fluid work environment than we have had in the past. It is a lot more interactive. From my perspective, it has been more of a human work environment than creative.
GlobeSt.com: Why have these workspaces become so popular across industries?
LaDow: The real reason that people come to these environments is to interact with people. You don’t have to with technology; you could work out of your house, you could work out of your house, you could work out of a Starbucks. The balance of that is creating some energy here that people want to be a part of. It is a trick to create that environment that people will come just to be a part of it.
GlobeSt.com: What is your long-term out look for this kind of human-focused office space?
LaDow: The goal, really, is to get people to see each other more. That has been the single most successful aspect, and that is going to translate in the future to better building architecture so that people can an visually have connection with each other.
Article originally appeared in GlobeSt.