Not your father’s office

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Mashore, Derrick_New for BlogFrom Derrick Banks Mashore
Managing Director, Tenant Rep

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On a recent cold, gray, and wet Tuesday, a friend visited the Washington, DC office of the Sidley Austin law firm, and sent me several photos. The former library, now The Lodge, is not your father’s law office.

The Lodge isn’t just popular, it’s packed! The attorneys gathered near the fireplace are clearly engaged, head down in private contemplation, or in small groups. These millennial generation lawyers are being productive. This is the new normal.

It’s time to rethink how you measure productivity.

The worker-friendly tech sector sparked the expansion of amenity spaces. To keep people productive and engaged and attract new workers, other industries are doubling down on amenity spaces.

Headquarters used to allocate 3-5% of total space to amenities. Now, 8-15% is more common. Condé Nast’s new NYC headquarters devotes two of its 20+ floors to amenities, including a cafeteria and a trendy café. The amenity floors are connected with a central stairway to promote interaction and relationship-building.

Workplaces must be practical, but they also should be aspirational – and inspirational.

Space matters. Sally Augustin of Design with Science says, “A great workplace has a positive ‘silent conversation’ with its employees… (it) communicates an employee’s value, (and) supports cognitive thinking and emotional needs, affecting mood in desired ways. Our mood impacts how broadly we think, our ability to solve problems, how creative our thoughts and behaviors are, and influences our health and physical well-being.”

Workplaces are where work, space, and people are linked and mutually dependent. The most effective workplaces change, adapt, and reinvent themselves, reflecting the culture, attitudes, and value system of an organization.

The ideal “office” is a place of empowerment—where people choose their spaces, tools, and collaborators. Organizations that manage to deliver these empowering places will have a potent advantage.

Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends study says, “Organizations that create a culture defined by meaningful work, deep employee engagement, job and organizational fit, and strong leadership are outperforming their peers and will beat their competition in attracting top talent.”

Enterprises today must first compete for the hearts and minds of their employees, to have the best chance to succeed with customers and other stakeholders.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

One thought on “Not your father’s office

  1. Andrea Lee Negroni

    You’re so right – offices where people feel empowered will keep their people happier, and those people will be more productive and loyal to their employers. Good observation — wish I’d had offices in my career like the ones you describe so well in your blogpost.


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