From the debut of “casual Fridays” in the 1990s to the open-plan offices of the 2000s, workplace trends have steadily changed the way we work. Perhaps the fastest changes, however, have emerged in the last few years with things like virtual meetings and workplace safety becoming quick standards. As we navigate through 2023, we look at some of the trends that have become popular in shaping today’s workplace:
Attractive Office Designs
Given the popularity of remote work, employers have learned that a workplace needs to be “commute-worthy” and that design matters when it comes to office space. Employees want to work somewhere they enjoy and according to interior design firm HOK, companies have begun requesting highly tailored spaces to attract talent in such a tight labor market.
“Clients are asking much more from us from a design perspective,” says Tom Polucci, Director of Interiors. “They want space that is going to attract people back. They need a reason, and the space needs to look like something.”
Many companies are also embracing the idea of hospitality within the workplace. This can mean anything from on-site amenities to cozy lounge spaces to “quiet zones” and more. Darian Lu, of Work Design Magazine, has noted that the feeling an employee gets from a workplace can directly affect their company loyalty. With spaces and amenities that cater to their needs, workers are more likely to value their employer and their environment. In fact, in a global study by planning firm Gensler, 81% of workers who say they have a great work experience have the choice of where they want to work within the office.
More Focus on Wellness
While stress and mental health issues have always existed, they became even more prominent during and following the pandemic. In a 2022 study by Gallup, employee stress reached a record-high level and 47% of workers expressed interest in leaving their jobs. Employers have embraced the importance of good mental health and overall wellness; many are creating programs (or improving existing ones) focused on things like exercise, communication, healthy eating, counseling, stress management, and alternative medicine to help their employees stay happy and healthy.
For example, Medford’s Rogue Credit Union offers free telehealth and mental healthcare to its employees and their households while Kinco offers paid gym memberships and fitness and meditation apps. Portland-based software firm Zapproved takes employee health a step further with a six-week-long wellness challenge, two-week wellness fair, and summer wellness series. After all, studies have shown that happy, healthy employees tend to be more motivated and have a greater desire to work versus those who are unhappy or unhealthy.
A Return-to-Office Approach
The onset of COVID-19 forced many companies to implement work-from-home policies for their employees. Some, like Meta and Twitter, went as far as to allow their employees to work from home indefinitely. But as we move forward, companies have realized the benefits of in-person office work and have begun the trend of bringing employees back to the office.
Many are turning to a hybrid model of work to avoid full-return issues like broken company cultures or increased turnover. Recently, Amazon’s Downtown Portland offices began requiring workers to be on site three days per week. The city of Portland also recently changed their work policy from one day per week in the office to half their total work time, bringing 2,000 more workers downtown more frequently. Even Meta and Twitter are reversing their previous statements and are working to bring their employees back on a hybrid level.
Making Changes to Your Office Space?
Some companies have employees who are still working remotely while others are beginning to repopulate the office. Either way, workplace transitions have caused many to reevaluate their office floor plans. Just recently, law firm Davis Wright Tremaine upgraded their space to 19,100 square feet in Downtown’s new Block 216 tower while SurveyMonkey downsized theirs to between 5,000 and 6,000 square feet in the Pearl District’s Brewery Blocks.
Companies are learning what works best for their employees in today’s workplace and are adjusting accordingly. If you’re considering downsizing, increasing, or relocating your company’s office, Melvin Mark can help. We specialize in Tenant Representation and have experienced brokers who can help you find the perfect space.