Office space: Open Plan, Mobile-Minded, Fun

By Roger Showley
The San Diego Union-Tribune.

The office of the future is here.

Employers competing for hard-working millennials and developers angling to make workplace better than home are embracing new layouts that are big on technology and teamwork and dismissive of office-as-status symbol.

“In four years half the workers will be millennials,” said Matt Root, managing partner of Parallel Capital Partners that specializes in commercial real estate in seven markets nationally, including Sorrento Valley. “The young generation share and collaborate — that’s how they’ve been brought up.”

So the trick in today’s office world is to find a happy medium between the 1960s “Organization Man” order of cubicles and private suites and the “Burning Man” scene of funky, flexible and free-food-for-the-taking spaces.

“It’s a much more ‘home’ environment,” said designer Paul Basile. “They make it so relaxing and nice that you don’t want to leave, so you get extra hours out of people.”

Gensler architect Claudia Salazar said the drawback of the new office is the disappearance of personalization. There’s no room for flower pots, family photos and knicknacks if you move from desk to desk as projects come up week after week.

“From a certain point of view, it’s like you don’t own your space anymore,” she said. “You become nomadic, you bring around your stuff.”

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Lena Brion, 2017 president of the local chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers, said the new office is more economical and efficient.

“People are very liberated and it does seem like people are happier and stay longer,” she said.

Here are three examples of new offices and what makes them special:

Digital Telepathy
* Consultants for projects and marketing campaigns
* Location: 770 11th Ave., downtown San Diego
* Space: 9,000 square feet in former warehouse with 35-foot ceilings; completed April 2013; 35 employees
* Highlight: Movable tables that double as white boards and lunch surfaces; designer, Basile Studio
* More information: Digital Telepathy

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