How The World’s Largest Design Firm is Thinking About the Future Workplace
Diane Hoskins is the co-CEO at Gensler, the largest global design and architecture firm with over 6,000 professionals across 50 offices. You may have seen some of the structures they have worked on, including the Shanghai Tower, the Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park, the Microsoft headquarters in Ireland, the Ford Foundation Center in New York, and countless others all over the world.
When speaking about the work that Gensler does, Diane says, “We bring insight-driven and research-driven design solutions to some of the most challenging and most amazing opportunities out there, all around the world. Working with leading companies in the tech industry and governments, and law firms, and organizations all over the world and also projects like airports, and sports stadiums and hospitality and even health and wellness. And really bringing a full 360 understanding of really the transformation of live, work, and play. And our deep research is helping us to bring insight into the design solutions that we offer with a goal of, at the center, really at the center of all of our work is the human experience.”
Traditionally we have thought of workspaces as a place where people just show up to work, but it is really so much more than that now. It’s no longer just a space where we go from 9 to 5, because of the integration of work and life that is happening. As Diane shares the workspace is what allows people to connect, collaborate, share, innovate, and make a difference. A workspace should reflect the culture, the mission, and the purpose of the organization. This is a major shift that is taking place in workspace design.
The old debate between open and closed spaces in the workplace is quickly becoming something of the past. It is becoming more apparent that it is a diverse work environment that is what makes the most sense. It’s important to have a mixture of open spaces that encourage collaboration and interactions as well as some closed spaces for phone calls, meetings, and individual work.
Gensler is utilizing a lot of new technologies to help design workspaces that make sense for the needs of their individual clients. The ability to use data sensors, wearables, and algorithms in the design process is something that couldn’t have been done years ago and it is impacting the future of workspace design.
So with all of these updates and changes, how do you keep your workplace relevant for years to come? Diane says, “There used to be a lot more specific design around the process, almost this idea of taking apart the process and then overlaying that on the floor plan and designing each department in its own way, and really looking at the actual work activity. And with the rate of change of what people do, and how companies are transforming, to your point, you basically can design something that will be obsolete you in a year, six months, or two years. And so the understanding of what work is and how people work, is less about the process, which is probably a little bit more of a factory mindset, and more about, as we were talking earlier, it’s about really supporting individual work, group work, and the organization itself. And ultimately then, there’s total flexibility to be able to then support any work process, any new type of offering that that organization is going to bring to the markets, new kinds of people they may be bringing in, different generations and so on and so on.”
What you will learn:
- A look at the new role workspaces play
- How real estate impacts climate change and how Gensler is addressing the problem
- What role technology plays in workspace design
- What it’s like to work at Gensler
- How to keep your organization’s workspace relevant for years to come
- A look at the future of workspace design
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