Design for Sustainability, Part 1

Rather than take a micro-level view at some of the new(er) glass and glazing technologies, I decided to offer a two-part blog on what consumers and users are asking for, as well as examples of how these challenges are being met.

Many of the business managers I meet are baby boomers, while many of their employees are millennials. In many markets, there is strong competition to hire qualified candidates, and quality of workplace life is increasingly one of the differentiation factors that modern employers offer.

What’s different about these new offices and workspaces? With office vacancy rates coming down, and more remodeling projects forecasted, what are the key design trends? According to Building Design+Construction’s (BD+C) article on this topic:

“Perimeter offices are disappearing, floor plans are opening up, and trendy breakout areas and cafés are replacing the rigid, closed layouts of the past,” says Barry Fries, founder and CEO of contractor B.R. Fries & Associates.

Millennials want their workplaces to be more collaborative and business casual, similar to their style preferences in other aspects of their lives. But what does glass and glazing have to do with meeting these needs?

It’s all about “getting the greatest number of people possible as close to the window lines as possible,” says David Varner, SmithGroupJJR in BD+C’s article.

The article also states that “Views of the surrounding countryside, ample daylighting, and open workstations promote productivity and well being,” and that “…according to Jones Lang LaSalle, decision makers are putting the emphasis on modifying their facilities to support creativity, focus and teamwork.”

In my 10 years with our company, I can see that while our emphasis on teamwork has remained steady, the spaces we work in have evolved. In our facilities around the world, I see more flexible meeting areas and spaces that foster team creativity. They have more daylighting, higher performance glazing and more common areas where people can easily connect. The evolution of our planning and use of space has supported our principle of networked, customer-centric thought and action among our colleagues and teams.

In next month’s blog, I’ll continue to discuss high-quality work environments and take a look at the cost impacts and paybacks they provide.