Last year a Harvard Business School associate professor (Ethan Bernstein) led the first empirical study measuring both face-to-face and electronic interaction before and after two Fortune 500 companies moved to an open barrier-free workspace. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the study found that, with the open workspace, personal interactions dropped approximately 70% while electronic interactions increased between 22% and 50%. After this study was released (which some industry professionals have challenged), countless articles have been written that the open office plan is another misguided corporate management fad and the real reason for its adoption is to reduce costs by densely packing workers into a smaller space. While there’s certainly a cost benefit to a more open plan with a smaller footprint, particularly as rents in many markets are hitting historic heights, in this post I briefly discuss how a thoughtfully-crafted open office plan can increase personal interaction and productivity while contributing to the retention and recruitment of talent.
Just exactly what is “creative office space”? What are today’s tenants looking for in office space? How are building owners accommodating this demand? Those questions were addressed a couple weeks ago at the Chicago Creative Office Summit. It was a roundtable discussion among architects, engineers, developers, a furniture vendor, a general contractor, building owners as well as office co-location companies. Here are the 10 key takeaways.