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Office Energy: What it Takes to Create a Great Space

By Kristin Christensen

An impressive compensation package, stellar retirement and health benefits, and the opportunity to engage in meaningful and transformative work. These are just a few of the items that job seekers consider when evaluating employment opportunities. To compete effectively in today’s marketplace, business executives need to utilize a range of resources to retain and attract talent, which also includes providing a great workspace for teams to thrive.

A New Perspective on Workplace Design

For decades, the idea of workspace flow and layout were stock and cookie-cutter: small individual offices, 8’x10’ cubicles, stuffy meeting rooms and stark lunchrooms; but that has changed. Businesses now place heavy focus on the design, look, feel, amenities and functionality of the workplace, in order to provide environments that foster creativity, collaboration, team cohesion and embody company culture.

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But what makes a space that has the ability to inspire? While color palette, flooring materials, lighting, artwork and furniture are all correct answers, it is the interconnected and holistic ecosystem of all of these parts which determine the quality and functionality of the design.

A workspace developed correctly can inspire team members, provide an environment for productive engagement and promote creativity. Our offices at Hughes Marino serve as second homes to our team, and also offer an inviting space for our clients and guests to enjoy, and we love sharing this same model with our clients. Here is a little peek into our Planning + Design process, where we develop workspace elements that enhance culture, performance and productivity.

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Getting Started

No matter if the business is in high-growth technology, wealth management, legal or biotech, our first step in crafting an outstanding workspace is meeting with the business owners and leaders to determine their strategic outlook, goals for the space, team member headcount and future growth projections.

In this Needs Assessment phase, our team discovers the critical planning elements, which set the stage for the design. Next, we host a series of visioning sessions where imagery meets the program, where the space begins to unfold, complete with tables, sofas, workstations, chairs, flooring and lighting components. There are sketches, as well as 2D and 3D concepts that are then discussed with the client to determine suitability and attractiveness.

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The Critical Elements of an Impressive Design

Open and collaborative work areas are a key ingredient to a great looking and effective space. We heavily encourage a balance of private offices and multiple open stations, where team members can mingle, work and take a few moments to relax. This includes the break or lunch area, which is the heart of a space and offers team members a place to unwind with friends. Our Hughes Marino kitchens are a great example of how showcasing a recreational space can work as the perfect focal point for both the team and guests.

An absolute priority for any outstanding space is a warm and welcoming entryway. The foyer delivers the first and last impression, and as such, must display the company’s hospitality and inviting culture and attitude of its team members. It’s critical to get this element right every time, and something our team loves to accomplish with every one of our projects!

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The Finishing Touches

Finishes and fabrics, vignettes, lighting, accent rugs, books, a neutral palette, sofa style…the list goes on and on. There are infinite possibilities when it comes to the design of a space, and in many ways, the process is similar to an artist with a blank canvas. As one of my favorite phases of a project, our team is always up for the challenge to reflect a company’s culture and brand!

As you can see, a lot of thought and inspiration goes into a quality design. Business owners across the country (and around the world) are coming to realize the value a spirited and functional design brings to their organization, team members and clients. In the end, all of the elements that comprise a space are critically important, but the true measure of the effectiveness and energy of a workspace is the setting and mood it conveys, and the narrative of the aesthetic. Nothing fulfills our team more than to see the transformative impact functional space can have on our clients and their company’s culture!

Kristin Christensen is interior design director at Hughes Marino, a global corporate real estate advisory firm that exclusively represents tenants and buyers. Contact Kristin at 1-844-662-6635 or kristin.christensen@hughesmarino.com to learn more.

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