You cannot browse social media or watch television news for more than a few minutes without reading or hearing about coronavirus. San Francisco Mayor London Breed is the latest government official across the globe to take drastic measures in response to the disease. She declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, as confirmed cases of the diseases now exceed 83,000 globally. It's starting to hit close to home as well.
We've written extensively about the ongoing open office furniture versus individual cubicles debate. The narrative for most of the last decade was that young Millennials and Generation Z prefer open office for collaboration and communication purposes. Baby Boomers prefer cubicles, while there is no consensus among Generation X. All of those positions have been dissected in survey after survey.
There is no longer a consensus-like tone when it comes to open office layouts. Workers often complain about a lack of privacy and inability to concentrate on the task at hand. The open office layout is here to stay, however, due to some of the largest technology companies in the world (i.e. Facebook) using it. But Human Resources personnel now understand that office layout is company and culture-specific.
The Bay Area is a trendsetter for many things technology, especially office furniture and design. Multinational tech firms and startups are always competing for talent. Your office furniture and layout are the first impressions of the company to potential employees. That's why it's imperative to present your company culture in a way that exudes success. Here are four trends taking hold in 2020.
There is a growing trend of building office spaces that incorporate nature. This mostly entails a lot of plant life, large windows for natural light, and even artificial waterfalls. But nothing screams nature like wood.
The southern Bay Area was referred to as the "Valley of Heart's Delight" in the early 20th century. The name was in reference to acres of orchards that sprouted myriad fruits throughout the years. It was after World War II when innovators and silicon chip manufacturers began moving into the area. Virtually every computerized device needed silicon chips, and that remains the reality in 2020.
Opioid abuse is a hot topic in Washington because of its prevalence. U.S. doctors issue about 200 million prescriptions for opioids (i.e. oxycodone, hydrocodone, etc.) every year, according to data compiled by the Addiction Center. These drugs are highly addictive because they block the brain from perceiving pain sensation, and create a sense of euphoria. Misuse of the drugs is the result for many. Upwards of 30% of patients abuse their prescription opioids.
The music and entertainment industries often speak about the cultural phenomenon known as the "27 Club." It refers to numerous musicians, actors and other famous performers passing away at the age of 27. Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain are among the most famous members of this dubious club. Now it appears workers in the tech industry are being read their last rites at a similar age.
Workers do not necessarily appreciate all those little office distractions. A 2019 white paper by office design firm Hana found that only 44% of workers had time during their days to partake in air hockey, foosball and other time-killing activities provided by their employers. The survey also found that 61% of workers are skeptical of firms that prioritize fun over work.
Office culture is perhaps one of the most analyzed and repeated buzzwords in corporate America. A 2012 Deloitte study found that 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct company culture is essential to overall success and employee satisfaction. The study also found that 84% and 83% employees and executives, respectively, said clearly-defined company culture keeps workers engaged and motivated.
Uber and Lyft employ over 525,000 drivers in California, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. Office furniture to full-time Bay Area Uber and Lyft drivers consists of their driver seat, passenger seat and backseat. Most drivers do it as a side gig. But Uber reported that 8% of their drivers work 40 hours or more per week. Well-intentioned California lawmakers believed that Uber, Lyft, Doordash, Grubhub, etc. were taking advantage of workers by not compensating them fairly. Their solution, however, may have done more harm than good.