July 2013 Meeting Review


 by Neil Taft, Netzero

“It was like being in the room with a futurist”.   This month’s meeting was riveting;  BRETT HAUTOP AIA, LEED AP brought his 15 years of experience in the forefront of work-space design to bear with an interesting and informative presentation about the changing work place.   Brett is the Studio Director for Raleigh office of Gensler, the world’s largest Architectural firm with 44 offices in 13 countries.   To put the firms influence in perspective, one of their projects is designing an entire city in Saudi Arabia.

Our well attended meeting was treated to more than just a glimpse of what our work spaces do and will look like.   Brett led us through the entire process of design, starting with considerable observation and extensive data gathering.   One interesting thing he share was about the differences of perception and reality.   An example may be; when someone is interviewed and ask what portion of their day do they spend actually in their office they may typically say 70%.   After an actual study it often becomes obvious that the real number is more like 20%.   As Brett said, this has huge design implications.  What I found most interesting was that he shared more about the why that the what.

The 8 Trends of work-space design seem to be centered around the changing demographics of the work force. He spoke a lot about the shift to the Gen Y workforce.  We were treated to views of how companies are meeting the demands of the “Millennial Influence” head on.   Considerations like a Campus Preference, Non Linear work Processes,  Open Collaboration, Connectivity, etc.  Companies like AMEX,  Google,  NVIDIA,  Nokia and Facebook were some of the workplaces Brett reviewed .

Many of the changes are here already and more to come in the near future.   Some interesting trends have to do with office size and design. In 1970 the average work space per employee was 500-700 Square Feet by 2017 it is trending to be 125-175 SF.

Let me close by sharing an eye opener that Brett shared as the single most important trend in these forward looking companies.   Brett says it is “FOOD!”   Food is the vehicle to socialization which in turn fosters the above, collaboration, connectivity, etc.   Facebook has a food station every 200 feet in their workspaces.

Thanks to Brett’s depth and girth of knowledge we were entertained as well as informed.  Those who attended were rewarded handsomely.