Monthly Archives: June 2014

Great Philadelphia Office Space Should Promote “Brotherly Love” for Unparalleled Productivity

William Penn, the architect of the Philadelphia province, was extremely disillusioned with the crowded cityscapes he found in so many European cities during the 17th century. Therefore, when he served as the primary designer of the new province in 1681, he made certain that the streets were wider and that the living plots offered ample room for both a home and garden. Penn’s vision for the “city of brotherly love” was one in which the structure of the city itself supported healthy interactions between all members of the society.

Comcast Center

Philadelphia’s Comcast Center

Even though great Philadelphia office spaces are not cities, their spatial layouts are equally important to the productive cohabitation of the company’s team. An efficient office space is one in which every employee’s needs are met, whether they need to individually focus or collaborate with their colleagues.

Among the most recognized Philadelphia Office Buildings is the Comcast Center, the HQ of cable industry giant Comcast. It’s 58 story,  1.25 million square feet glass covered structure was completed in 2008. Comcast occupies over 85% of the building for its own use.

According to Entrepreneur, the contemporary office space must present a variety of settings to effectively support all of the responsibilities that must be met on a daily basis. Fortunately, there are just a few relatively simple steps that will help make any ordinary office space into a great one:

  • Janet Pogue of Gensler–a global design and architecture firm–admits that while employees must have space to focus individually, they “…can do that without being boxed in on every side.” Heeding Pogue’s advice, businesses of all sizes are banishing cubicles in exchange for defined quiet rooms that are stocked with all of the tools, from pens and paper to WiFi, so that contemplative work may be effectively completed.
  • Other areas, on the other hand, must be purposefully designed to promote interaction between employees. Whether this is a welcoming staff lounge stocked with snacks or a comfortable seating section that supports meaningful dialogue, these communal areas provide the foundation for the communications that will not only unite the team, but that will also benefit the team’s productivity.

Just as Penn purposefully designed Philadelphia’s layout to fit every occasion, business owners and managers must also remember to purposefully engineer unique spaces to fit the multitude of needs within their businesses. Please contact us today to discover how the perfect Philadelphia office space will transfer the brotherly love from the streets into the office for unparalleled productivity.

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By: James Osgood

Great Seattle Office Space; Implementing Innovative Ideas

According to some experts, Seattle is an excellent place to experiment with innovative office space configurations and new priorities. With its relatively high cash flow and youthful work force, there is both the money to experiment with and employees who are more open to innovation. The culture in Seattle is also more informal and egalitarian than in other areas of the country, making Seattle office space an excellent place to reinvent your workplace.

Here are some offices in Seattle, designed by NBBJ,  that are experimenting with open office settings, and what they are doing to help humanize these spaces.

NBBJ Office Space in Seattle

NBBJ Office Space in Seattle

NBBJ is an innovative architectural firm with its largest office in Seattle. Naturally, their own offices are an excellent place to experiment with their ideas. There are no private offices or cubicles at NBBJ, and they tell visitors that employees adapt to the low-level noise and small group gatherings that surround them. Body language is key to expressing when employees should not be interrupted, and noise-cancelling headphones are an excellent way to filter out the noise.

Russell Investments Seattle Office Space

Russell Investments Seattle Office Space

Russell Investments put many of NBBJ’s ideas to work, moving from twelve floors in a traditional high-rise office building to only five floors in their new location. Here also, there are no offices, and the only distinguishing feature of the CEO’s desk is a glowing blue acrylic sign. Natural light is a key component to the success of the space, as is the ability of informal leaders to shine in an atmosphere which no longer uses offices as status symbols or barriers. While the move has naturally saved the company significantly on office costs, the success of the move is in the fact that ninety percent of the post-move feedback has been positive.

Gates Foundation Seattle office space

Gates Foundation by NBBJ

The Gates Foundation is another NBBJ-designed building that incorporates a number of important features into its design. The entire building is dressed in glass, which faces not only outwards, but also inwards toward a large private and pleasant courtyard that becomes an ideal outdoor working space when Seattle’s weather cooperates. Indoors, sixty percent of the office space is open, with some of the other forty percent being designated as “retreat” space for intensive, quiet work. Stairwells converge on hubs with coffee stations, informal furniture groupings for random meetings, and those inevitable copy machines. This stunning building also garnered a ninety-percent post-move-in approval rating.

So if you’re looking to create office space innovation in Seattle, NBBJ is a great place to start. However, if you’re looking for existing office space in Seattle to lease or purchase, contact us today to discuss what innovative offices might be available.

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By: James Osgood

Innovative Chicago Office Spaces in Historic Universal Building

The Universal Office Building, in Chicago’s West Town In Chicago’s West Town area, a former stove manufacturing building has become a hot spot for experimentation with innovative office space. The Universal Building is now home to some innovative Chicago office spaces.

The employees at Kaleidoscope, an integrated brand design and realization agency, must work in a collaborative fashion in order to achieve their cohesive, integrative goals for each client. In order to achieve this, they have spent significant time in redesigning their spacious loft offices to focus on “I, we and team” type spaces. The “I spaces” have bench style seating and long tables, creating one large space, called “home base,” that is conducive to collaborative work. (They have also set aside some private spaces to which individual employees can move in order to work without interruption on a particular task.)

The “we spaces” at Kaleidoscope include kitchen and lounge spaces that allow for informal connecting and conversations. This supports a sense of community as well as collaboration. The “team spaces” includes breakout and conference rooms with adjustable walls for maximum flexibility. There is also a nap room for when employees need to recharge.

Another tenant in the Universal Building needed much more than a lofty design space; they also needed the inherent strength of a former manufacturing building to house not just their offices, but examples of the work that they do. Aquamoon, which creates aquatic and educational displays, needed office space that could hold both dry and wet aquariums as well as the desks where those aquariums were being designed. Since they have to house both animals and plants on site, their work space is divided into two areas: a design studio and a lab. Access to the industrial-strength loading dock has also been a boon for their business.

Whatever your business might need in terms of particular office spaces, Chicago has it. For assistance in finding the perfect office space for lease or purchase, contact us today.

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By: James Osgood

Great Office Space: It’s Not About the Place, It’s About the People

It is a recognized fact that happy workers produce more effectively. The days of glass partitions gave way to the cubicle, because it was thought that privacy would beget efficiency and productivity. Popular opinion now is that open spaces, community and comfort induce workers to be more creative and engaged. Indeed, creativity is today’s business, just as yesterday’s business was production. To what do these facts translate in great office space? What makes them exceptional, and what is their effect on workers?

It’s About People

Harvard Business Review reported on a study using 18 organizations and over 7,000 workers. A business strategy firm performed the study to discover how businesses could save time, increase concentration and productivity, the three things they considered important to a business’ success. They found that great office space includes:

  1. natural light,
  2. open floor plans and
  3. individuality

It was noted that natural light fostered awareness, whereas the drab gray cubicles of the past stifled thought. Open floor plans meant that when workers felt comfortable going somewhere to be alone, they often spent two to three hours brainstorming or creating. Also noted was that personalizing working space brought increased productivity and deeper concentration.


Any worker facing a deadline will state unequivocally that distraction is the main enemy. When a worker must find an area not in use for a meeting, or when workers are waiting for clients to show up on time for an appointment, these and other time-wasters cost the company money. For every minute a worker is not producing or creating, the company loses money. Great office spaces therefore make effective use of a reception area or waiting room. Such office spaces also provide many small off-beat areas for quick meetings instead of the vast meeting rooms of the past.

Offices with a floor plan supporting multi-use areas give workers a freedom they never had before. They are not psychologically stopped by closed doors or enclosed in walls. They are free to carry on their business, especially when the areas are equipped with furnishings and business-related tools that make clients feel more at home. Everyone feels comfortable, so stress, another enemy, has less chance to strike.


Business and entrepreneur magazine Inc. thinks that great office spaces should foster a more home-like atmosphere in order to abet concentration. For instance, no one would voluntarily go into a noisy kitchen to concentrate. They would enter the empty family room. Offices with separate areas such as chairs and sofas grouped in inviting positions foster concentration. If a worker wants collaboration, s/he would head for the kitchen, break room or whatever constitutes the company’s “water cooler”. The point is made that open floor plans give workers a better chance to create than closely placed desks or cubicles.

What makes this floor plan special is that there is no constraint. Workers are not forced to remain behind walls with insufficient lighting while trying to concentrate. There is freedom of movement. Workers can choose to be alone or to be with other workers.


Both Harvard Business Review and Inc. found that personalizing work space increased productivity. Employees brought in family pictures, stuffed animals, coffee mugs and sometimes even their dog in an effort to feel more at home. Thus comfortable, workers could then produce more. Some office layouts were accessorized by café curtains on the windows, bookcases, wooden tables instead of traditional desks, lots of plants and pictures on the walls. The layouts themselves encompassed one large area streamlined by tables and homely furnishings.

Google's great office spaceSome of the greatest layouts can be found at Google, Nokia, Urban Outfitters and Lego. Note how great office spaces define both the brand and inspire its workers (we could be inspired by Zynga’s layout). Finding the right space is a simple matter of contacting OfficeFinder, but turning it into a winner will be up to the people working in it. Contact us for great office spaces you can turn into a wonderland like Airbnb’s.

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By: James Osgood