Goodbye open office, hello office neighborhoods

July 16, 2015 Laura McDaniel

JLL recently launched Real Views - a news site from JLL that features stories exploring the world of real estate and its impact on the wider business world. They use a mix of internal ad external authors in order to provide expert insights that create stimulating conversations and to keep you aware of news and trends important to you.

One of their recent articles highlighted yet another evolving trend for work spaces. The pendulum has swung dramatically recently, from closed offices, to very open spaces. Here, the "office neighborhood" is explored. What is the design of your work space? 

Anyone who has worked in the hustle and bustle of an open office environment knows that it often has distracting downsides.

goodbye open plan office

And yet the trend has endured, thanks in part to by influential business executives like former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.

But now some companies are changing the script. Earlier this month, Uber, the wildly popular ride-sharing service with offices in downtown San Francisco, unveiled plans to move to 423,000 square feet of office space in the city. Although at first Uber’s plan looked like the classic open-office layout, complete with potentially noise-trapping glass surfaces, it soon became clear that the firm intended to move away from the traditional open-office environment.

Instead of vast floors of workers buzzing next to each other, Uber’s avant-garde plans involve organizing its new offices into ‘neighborhoods,’ creating communities of 30 to 60 employees.

“There’s a big shift,” says Bernice Boucher, Managing Director in JLL’s Strategic Consulting Group and the Head of Workplace Strategy for the Americas. As Boucher reviewed Uber’s plans in an article in Fast Company, she recognized the company’s desire to switch to activity-based neighborhoods – and she’s convinced that these offer a kind of flexibility that open offices do not.

Joining a workplace community

More employers have been pushing to shift their employee workspaces “from ownership to membership,” says Boucher. “Instead of owning a desk, you’re shifting to membership in a neighborhood.” The change creates a sense of belonging that triggers collaboration and aids productivity.

Read the entire article here

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