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 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 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.
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.
By: James Osgood