“Millennials are collaborators, and they don’t like to isolate themselves,” says Marlyn Zucosky, IIDA, Partner and Director of Interior Design with JZA D (“Providing more open places for informal meetings is a successful strategy. The New York-based project management consultancy Faithful Gould points to decreasing vacancy rates as an indicator of growth, but says owners are likely to focus on upgrading existing buildings. Jones Lang La Salle foresees a 6% increase in office project completions this year.“Many workplaces are becoming the physical manifestation of the ‘business casual’ trend.” Hierarchy, tenure, and seniority are no longer the key factors in design, and flexible work zones are displacing high, opaque walls, says Karen Thomas, CID, LEED AP BD C, a Principal of architecture firm LPA Inc. The firm’s user surveys show that employees are more productive when given a variety of places in which to work.“Employee costs are the largest expense for any company, so making staff comfortable benefits the bottom line,” says Rick D’Amato, AIA, LEED AP BD C, another LPA Principal.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. With 72% of corporate real estate executives saddled with the responsibility of productivity improvements, according to Jones Lang La Salle, decision makers are putting the emphasis on modifying their facilities to support creativity, focus, and teamwork. A study by Forbes projects that three out of four workers will be Millennials by 2025.This ambitious, tech-savvy, creative cohort has notably different working styles and preferences than other generations; for instance, Millennials may be more productive sitting in cafés or lounge areas than in traditional workstations.
PHOTO: COURTESY HOK In 2001, an average of 300 sf was allotted per worker.“Flat-screen monitors allow shallower work surfaces, which means less footprint per workstation.” She adds that providing space for document piling is far less important today, with most documents residing on computers.Rachel Casanova, LEED AP ID C, an Associate Principal and Director of Workplace Strategy with Perkins Will New York ( says individual desk size is decreasing in width, to around five linear feet.First-hand knowledge of the response is used, offering strategies for future deployment of social media and important research questions that remain regarding social media as knowledge management systems, particularly for disaster and emergency management.Dave Yates (Ph D—University of Southern California) is assistant professor of information studies at the University of Maryland.