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Do the drawbacks to open offices outweigh the benefits? What’s next in the amenities arms race? How are companies using technology to green their workspace? These are just a few questions posed to Irvine Company leaders in design, development, construction and customer leasing. From statement amenities to future-proofing, these are five design trends to watch in 2018: 

1. Activity-based design maximizes workspace flexibility

Companies are moving away from a one-size-fits-all approach to open office layouts and incorporating a variety of different workspace preferences to attract and retain their employees. This ‘activity-based design’ empowers employees to choose the work environment that best suits their needs at any given point, be that a private indoor workspace or WiFi-powered outdoor lounge.

Tom Greubel, Vice President, Leasing

2. Amenities war shifts from diversionary to statement

Diversionary amenities like Ping Pong tables don’t always translate into greater value: intentionality matters. Statement amenities that reflect a company’s core values and speak to recruitment and retention priorities, like adding a mother’s room, deliver the greatest ROI.

Lauren Kelly, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer

3. Future-proofing requires data, not assumptions 

From remote working to driverless cars, technology is rapidly transforming the contemporary workplace. Will parking garages be obsolete in ten years? As we continue to study technology and its impacts, we’re designing space that preserves optionality for the future. Design decisions should be based on careful study of human behavior and space utility, and we’re focused on continuously refining our product offerings based on that research.

Roger DeWames, Vice President, Development

4. Acoustic control is the new workplace design imperative

Raw materials are popular design choices, but also create new challenges. A concrete floor amplifies sounds and open ceilings offer limited acoustic modulation. If open offices are meant to foster collaboration, you lose this collaborative element when everyone is forced to wear headphones in order to concentrate! Fiber boards and spray-on-acoustic ceiling covers serve a dual design purpose, adding visual interest while addressing sound attenuation and supporting a collaborative workspace.

Kristin Jenkin, Senior Director, Interior Architecture

5. Technology Powers Wellness-Based Design

Employee wellness is a critical factor for productivity, innovation and creativity. We’re experimenting with new wireless control and sensor technologies that can provide optimal lighting and HVAC options for individual preferences and give customers greater control over their indoor climate.

Ben Novak, Vice President, Customer Interiors Construction

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