One size doesn’t fit everyone: the needs of employees change the workplace


Lois Wellwood, Global Interiors Practice Leader for architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, known as SOM, said that prior to the pandemic, “the workplace tended to migrate to one size fits all. There is now an opportunity to think about a return to the office that is authentic for the organization. People are better supported when things are agile and changeable, with more opportunities for jobs throughout the day. This makes the workplace more adaptable, elastic and responsive to what individuals and teams are doing. “

SOM created a “city within a building” for a 95,000 square meter office of a technology company in the Grace Building in Midtown Manhattan. This includes a staircase that ascends into the atrium of the office and functions as the central nervous system.

A media wall spans all three floors of the company and can be used for company-wide zoom sessions and to display other information to employees around the world. The office also contains a combined reception, living room, cafe and pantry at the entrance; The work areas are open so that employees can decide for themselves when and how they want to work. There is also a wellness room for employees with newborns and a shower for those who ride a bike or skateboard to work.

SOM’s Central Place project in Sydney, Australia, due for completion in 2028, will include 1,620,000 square feet of office and retail space and create a natural working environment, with multiple terraces and a facade designed to that the solar heat gain inside is minimized.

The company also recommends the so-called “anti-fear office entry” for its customers. This would mean redesigning the lobby of an office building in such a way that it contains “breathable and easily accessible spaces” [so] We can choreograph the arrival experience to reduce the rush, ”says a document entitled“ 10 Post-Pandemic Design Ideas ”. “Employees and visitors, messengers and deliverers and people who arrive on foot or by bike each have a clear and unambiguous route to get there.” SOM also recommends that this entry include “more generously planned bicycle facilities” as well as showers and lockers.

Similarly, a 13,000-square-foot New York office currently being planned by Gensler for the Rizzo Group, a building regulations consultancy, will open in February 2022, with a huge focus on wellness and wellbeing. The outdoor area with tables and seating for meeting will be as large as the indoor area to maximize staff access to the elements year round.

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