NEW OFFICES ON U.S. CORPORATE CAMPUSES

U.S. office workers are finally getting a say in what their office spaces will be like.

Companies are striving to retain talent and, thus, are paying attention to the polling of their workers of what they’d like in their office spaces.  Humorously, workers for American Airlines Group have asked for more legroom (ref. WSJ).  Thus, Herman Miller has designed special desks that allow for more room to spread out for the workers at American’s new Fort Worth, TX headquarters.  There are no private offices, but more than 1,000 meeting spaces.  As well, the new office spaces feature a lap pool, cricket pitch and outdoor meeting spaces that are wired so PowerPoint presentations can be beamed on large waterproof monitors.  Piped in white noise helps tamp down auditory distractions inside the open office space.  McDonald’s new Chicago headquarters has a workplace app with a temperature feature so that employees can indicate by mobile phone whether they’re too hot or cold, showing the workers in their floor plan location and three prompts – too cold, too warm, comfy.  People adopted the app enthusiastically – a McDonald’s spokesman says that “When people are uncomfortable, they’re not as productive.”  Someone at corporate is finally getting it right!  Before Expedia Group opened the new Seattle campus, they built a small office in the city to test lighting design, furniture choices and an open office plan.  The research led the company to embrace a plan called biophilia, which intends to bring workers in closer contact to the outdoors, with large sliding doors that open to the outside.  The research indicated that office workers wanted more natural light  and views.  Public hike-and-bike trails also line the perimeter of the 40-acre campus.  Walmart is also designing new campus headquarters and when completed with have 10 buildings with walking paths around 15 acres of lakes as well as a on-site child care center, a gym and a hotel.  So, things are definitely changing in the landscape of corporate America’s office spaces – we’ll follow the response of workers after they’ve experienced the new spaces.

ALL THE MOVING PARTS – IT’S ALL THE PARTS OF AN ORGANIZATION THAT MAKE UP A SUCCESSFUL WHOLE.

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