Tech Firm Design Trends

At OTJ Architects, we understand the importance of industry trends and are in touch with the market and its ever-changing drivers.  We have worked with technology firms throughout the country, helping them create a space that solves their spatial problems and reaches their individual goals.  Through this experience, we have found the following trends to play an important role in technology workplaces.

RECRUITING AND RETENTION: 

Tech firms recognize that they need and want the best talent, and to attract and retain that, they are rethinking the way work is done. Tech companies are looking to create a workplace that not only blurs the line between work and fun, but one that will help cultivate staff to develop new ideas.  In order to create this type of environment, many tech companies have adopted elements such as game rooms, fitness centers and roof patios into their spaces.

For Capital One’s Digital Lab, we created a space that – according to Capital One – significantly increased workplace satisfaction, job satisfaction, job productivity and colleague interaction.  We integrated collaborative zones throughout the open work space such as scrum gathering areas, video conference rooms, collaborative “pods” and pin-up areas that allow employees to constantly change their work setting. Spaces such as a Designer’s Studio, Social Media Lab, a large pantry and game and lounge areas blur the line between dedicated work space, informal work space and social gathering areas.

TASK DRIVEN DESIGN: 

Tech companies are looking to create an environment for their staff where they can choose the area that is most conducive to their day ahead based on the work they need to perform.  That’s why creating spaces that support both head-down space and collaboration is so important.  Allowing employees to select their workplace based on their tasks can help to increase productivity and workplace satisfaction.

For Capital One’s Innovation Center, we worked with the client to create a space that fosters deep collaboration and breakthrough thinking.  In order to create a task-driven design, we incorporated pods throughout the space to serve both as fun, collaborative meeting areas and space separators. Vertical wall surfaces were created as writable whiteboards and magnetic, writable panels were also included in the pods to promote idea visualization. 

FLEXIBILITY: 

Similar to task-driven design is the idea of having a flexible work environment that incorporates social, focus and collaborative spaces, while accommodating for growth.  Most tech companies are creating a space where collaboration and employee interaction can happen almost anywhere in the space.  This is because companies don’t want to limit staff members on where their ideas can be cultivated.

For Accenture, every surface in the office is used to brainstorm and reflect the collaborative thought processes – including whiteboards, chalkboards, touch screens and pin-up walls. There is a transitional concept of public to private spaces that begins with an inviting reception area and adjacent main conference room. This “rumble room” contains a large touch screen for collaborating on ideas, flexible seating for different meeting types and pivot doors that open and allow for larger events.

VIRTUAL MEETS PHYSICAL:

Tech companies are often looking to create an experience that merges the worlds of virtual and physical.  Many tech firms desire to incorporate forward-thinking technology into their office designs that can blur these lines, such as sophisticated audio-visual technology, smart boards, digital displays and video conferencing capabilities.

Booz Allen Hamilton’s Innovation Center includes a product showcase area with multimedia and interactive displays of the latest products developed, a collaboration area designed to help Booz Allen teams discuss new ideas and demonstrate client solutions and a “Maker Space” with large work tables for diverse teams to brainstorm ideas, co-create concepts and engage in prototyping techniques. Additionally, this space features state-of-the-art conference rooms to enable engagement with partners and clients through a range of interactive client demonstrations.

EXCHANGE OF IDEAS: 

Tech companies are looking to create a space that allows their employees to energize and inspire each other.  Incorporating central locations in the space can allow staff to informally meet and new ideas to prosper.  These areas are places where employees may go to take a break from work but end up running into someone that can help create a solution to an issue or help them build on their ideas.

For the Alarm.com headquarters, the goal was to create a space that energizes and inspires the employees to continue to innovate and grow together.  The open, interconnecting stair is designed to be the major focal point of the space, which connects floors nine through 11 and will eventually extend down to the eighth floor due to the company’s growth. The stair allows for easy access between departments located on separate floors and connects high-impact areas on each floor including the communal pantry, IT genius bar and main reception areas.

BRANDING:

Branding is a key component for tech companies.  Branding can embrace company culture, distinguish a difference from other brands and build awareness.  Incorporating a company’s brand into the design helps create a memory for visitors and staff, as well as giving employees a sense of pride.

For Adobe, incorporating their corporate branding was an important part of the project.  Branding features include Adobe product logos placed on the doors and walls of conference rooms, finishes that are part of their brand color palette and artwork throughout the space that was created by Adobe users using their products.  Additionally, the conference rooms utilize their Adobe Conferencing Services so employees can use and share their high-tech systems while in conferences.

If you have any questions about Tech Firm Design Trends, please contact OTJ Architects today by calling 202-621-1000 or visit www.OTJ.com today!  You can also follow OTJ Architects on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+.

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