The coronavirus pandemic and anxiety among the populace have made competition for top talent more fierce than ever. Many companies vehemently resisted work-from-home models for years. "It won't work" and "it can't work" were the most common excuses despite research pointing to myriad benefits to both companies and workers.
The Bay Area is slowly but surely regaining some semblance of normalcy in the wake of coronavirus. Of course that comes with caveats. Golf courses were allowed to reopen on May 4. But restrictions and rules vary depending on jurisdiction. ABC-7 reported that Napa County golf courses are turning cups upside down to prevent players from having to grab the flags. They have also removed rakes from bunkers and removed ball washers, to prevent people from touching them. Childcare facilities, car washes and other industries have their own "new normal" procedures as well.
Many Bay Area businesses are open, but with various restrictions. Governor Gavin Newsom spoke at a veterans home in Yountville on May 22. He hinted that professional sports and hair salons were the next businesses to be given the green light to resume operations. But Contra Costa County saw its one-day biggest spike in COVID-19 cases (65) on June 9. Despite the surge, hair salons and indoor dining are expected to recommence throughout most of the Bay Area next week.
The origins of cubicles trace back to Frank Lloyd Wright and other early 20th century architects and designers. They believed that walls made offices dreary, dungeon-like places that made workers feel trapped. Business owners tended to agree, but for different reasons. They believed walls inhibited the ability to pack as many workers into one place as possible to maximize productivity and profits. Enter cubicles.
We've written several articles in the past two years about the ongoing debate between open office furniture and cubicles. Managers and C-Level executives like open office to encourage collaboration and eliminate barriers between workers. Meanwhile Millennial and Gen Z workers are more content with open office layouts then Baby Boomers and Generation X, who are less than enthusiastic about it. The COVID-19 pandemic is resolving the issue for everyone.
The terms introvert and extrovert came about after World War I. Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung first described extroversion as an "outward" libido, and introversion an "inward" libido. Jung's definition of libido is quite different than that of Sigmund Freud's. The latter's theories centered around sexual gratification, whereas Jung's "libido" referred to any and all factors that motivated people to do things.
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 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.
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.
Office furniture and design in the Bay Area have continually evolved to attract and retain young Millennial and Generation Z talent. It started with open office workstations in the mid-2000s. Several Bay Area tech giants implemented the layout despite mixed reviews from workers of all ages. Standing desks grew in popularity through the first decade of the 21st century too. Most offices use them as flex-seating for workers who want variety throughout the day. They may spend half a day sitting at unassigned cubicles, and the second half standing, perhaps to fending off after-lunch fatigue.
All those articles and studies about recruiting and retaining Millennial talent still have relevance in 2020. People born from 1980 to 1996 comprised 35% of the U.S. workforce in 2018, according to Pew data. Millennials surpassed Generation X as the majority in the U.S. workforce in 2016 and will hold that distinction for the foreseeable future. Generation Z, sometimes called Post-Millennials or the iGen, are those born roughly between 1998-2015. They started entering the workforce in 2016.
The 1920s are often referred to as "the Twenties" or the "Roaring 20s." There is no real consensus as to what this coming decade is called since the generic Twenties is already taken. There's not even consensus for the name of this past decade. Some call 2010-2019 the "Tweenies." Others call it the Twenty-Tens. Regardless of nomenclature, it was a banner decade for office furniture and trends within the workplace.
Volunteering is a bedrock principle of both healthy individuals and prosperous societies. The University of Exeter did a meta-analysis of 40 studies on volunteering over a 20-year period in 2013. Mortality rates were 22% less with volunteers versus non-volunteers. The study also concluded that volunteers had better mental health and overall life satisfaction than non-volunteers. But the volunteer work must be truly volunteer, not forced, to reap the benefits.
One of the most rewarding parts of working at Eco Office is setting up cubicles or open office workstations for Bay Area startups. We've seen new business owners break down in tears after our approved design comes to life in their new office digs. Their dreams are finally realized - working for themselves, their employees and clients.
The "as a service" phenomenon has quickly become standard operating procedure in the 21st century workplace.
The most ubiquitous Software as a Service (SaaS) apps were born right here in the Bay Area. Slack, Salesforce and G Suite allow companies to rely on cloud-based services that streamline myriad processes for a low monthly fee. Platform as a Service (PaaS) assists developers with building applications and coding. PaaS, in a figurative sense, is like a chef renting a commercial kitchen instead of buying the space. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) allows companies to outsource IT on pay-as-you-go plans versus buying expensive on-site equipment.
The Golden State unemployment rate has reached record lows, with the Bay Area job outlook providing even more positive news. The California unemployment rate fell to 3.9% in October, according to data released today by the state’s Employment Development Division. The state added 23,600 non-farm jobs, and continued it's record expansion. California has added 3.37 million jobs since 2010, accounting for 15% of the 22.2 million jobs added across the country in that time.
The 21st century Bay Area office worker has a pretty consistent routine across the board. Wake up at 6 a.m., shower, have a bagel and a cup of coffee before getting on your bike and heading to the BART station. Those with cars get up at 6:30 and brave rush hour traffic for 45 minutes to travel 10-15 miles. You arrive at the office, check for any paper memos at your desk, check your email, and yes, check Slack.
Office furniture and design is unique to a company's brand and culture. It's never a good idea to incorporate a specific style for the sake of being trendy. These circumstances played out at one of the world's largest corporations, headquartered right here in the Bay Area.
Owl Labs debuted the Meeting Owl in the summer of 2017. The device is a standalone smart speaker with a 360-degree camera on top. It integrates with Zoom, Skype and other videoconferencing services, and places the person speaking in a meeting front-and-center on everyone's screen. Mark Schnittman, chief technology officer for Owl Labs, told Venture Beat that the first edition of Meeting Owl is light on features because the company doesn't yet know what users want. But the data is trickling in quickly.
The San Francisco Bay Area was home to 18 Fortune 500 companies in 2018, according to 24/7 Wall Street. San Francisco was named the hottest startup city by Inc. magazine in 2019, boasting three-year revenue growth rate of 413%. But there’s only so much space available in the Bay Area. Companies must team with the right office designer to maximize productivity within their walls and budget.
The scientific theory known as social proof posits that people in general follow the lead of others. Researchers have repeatedly demonstrated this phenomenon.
Statistics can say anything the author wants them too say, and that definitely holds true with a 2016 study by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics. Data compiled by the agency that year found that the average U.S. worker spent 39% of their days sitting and 61% standing. But when you take a closer look at the numbers, you'll find that in most occupations, workers either sit or stand a vast majority of their days. Waiters and welders, for instance, are on their feet more than 90% of the time. Accountants and software developers sit 80% or more of the time.
There is a clear age gap when it comes to concerns about environmental issues, and it could have detrimental effects on your recruiting efforts. A 2018 Gallup poll found that 75% of young Millennials and Generation Z (people age 18-34) believe that global warming is caused by human activity. That number dropped to 56% when the 55 and older age group was asked the same question.
Two decades ago, working from home was considered a privilege that only a few high-ranking company officers and those who owned their own businesses experienced. Telecommuting in the ages of the internet and gig economy has become the norm for many companies and their employees. But remote workers still want their fill of office life.
Education technology company Avado released a white paper in 2018 that said 32% of workers will need to completely retrain at their current positions within 12 years. Savvy companies wishing to stay ahead of the curve are constantly training their employees on new technology and trends that maximize efficiency and accuracy. Other companies view additional training as a catch-22. Untrained employees, their mistakes and inefficiencies will likely cost companies more in the long run. But learning and development (L&D) can be expensive, particularly when investment in training leads to employees leaving the company for higher paying positions with better benefits.
The 2019 workplace is a potpourri of humanity with everything from 18-year-old entry-level employees to 60-year-olds putting in those final years to maximize Social Security payouts. But when it comes to the open office layout, the differences in generations begins to show themselves.
The United States was once a hub for manufacturing, which meant many workers made a living in that sector. Federal Reserve data show that 30% of American non-farm jobs were in the manufacturing sector in 1949. When you combined those workers with retail, mining, construction and hospitality, that meant more than 60% of American workers were on their feet, moving around for most of their workdays. Manufacturing jobs account for only about 8% of all jobs today, the lowest ever. More than 86% of Americans sit all day for their jobs in 2019.
Data compiled by MIT at the turn of the 21st century found that the typical tasks in a 1950s 40-hour work week could be completed in 11 hours or less in 2000. Most of this, of course, is due to advances in technology. But its also due to increased worker morale and perks.
The concept of spring cleaning is said to originate from a tradition related to the Iranian New Year, which is the first day of spring. Everything in the home is thoroughly cleaned, from the curtains to the carpet. Spring has also traditionally been the season for businesses to renovate, redecorate, and move to completely different spaces as the weather warms up and the days get longer.
Whether you are an Uber or Lyft driver, have an Etsy or Freelancer.com profile, or just browse relevant Craigslist sections daily, you are part of the gig economy. A 2018 Gallup poll found that 36% of American workers are part of the gig economy, a term that was popularized during the Great Recession. While many do gigs as side hustles, Gen-X members (people in their 40s and early 50s) are the most likely to rely on gigs as their full-time jobs.
Interest in the standing desk alternative to traditional desks has been growing in recent years. According to the BBC, standing desks have already become commonplace in Sweden, Finland and Norway (why do those Nordic countries always seem to be ahead of the game?), with some estimates putting the adoption rate at 80 percent of office workers. In 2014, Denmark became the first country to mandate that businesses offer a standing desk option to all employees. But while spending less time sitting hunched in front of a computer might seem intuitively like a good idea, is there really any science supporting the increased interest? Turns out, the answer is yes.
The U.S. Employment Participation Rate remains far below pre-Recession levels in 2019, but companies are hiring those looking for work. Unemployment rates were 4.1% or below throughout the last twelve months, which means offices constantly welcomed new workers in their spaces.
Businesses around the world use technology to get work done. Between phone lines, computer set ups, printers, fax machines, and other electronics, every office needs to keep their power supply needs in check. Each device requires another cable or wire to be plugged in. Even if each desk only has one computer and a phone line, that can equal a large amount of cables to manage.
Do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life. This quote may be true for some in the workforce, but the sad reality is that most employees are working to pay the bills. They may not be excited to come into work each day. But there are ways to build an office environment that inspires and motivates them.
San Francisco is home to hundreds of well-established companies, surrounded by thousands of fledgling start-ups hoping to make it big. There is a reason that this city in particular has become a hot spot for new ventures to get started. Other than the obvious close proximity to Silicon Valley, San Francisco benefits because it sits in between tech giants and social media companies — leaders in the next wave of business culture.
Among the large software companies in Silicon Valley and cities across the nation, software developers enjoy a wealth of amenities, from in-house coffee bars to ping pong tables to free massages. While these luxuries may be great in the short term, they don’t address the main problem facing professionals in this industry — long-term effects of time spent sitting at a computer.
For those who work a 9-5 job, they are spending a large portion of their week at the office. More specifically, they are spending most of that time at their desk or cubicle. If you have an individual space or desk, it is worth it to personalize the space to your needs. This will help you feel more relaxed and comfortable at work everyday, and the small changes can make a big difference.
It is time for an office makeover and there are a lot of things to consider before buying new office furniture. What size space do you have? Who will be using the furniture? Will you choose an open office layout? The final question is this: Where will I buy my office furniture?
Despite the emergence of e-friendly initiatives to shed waste and reduce paper use within businesses, there is still a need for storage space. Whether it is backup files of key client accounts or physical space for larger items, designing an office space with storage in mind will help keep the office clutter free in the future.
Ever heard of whiteboard animation? You may recognize a few popular videos that have been popping up across the Internet over the past few years. The videos feature a lecture or speech, accompanied by a stop motion video of an artist drawing related pictures on a whiteboard.
By the year 2020, over half of the U.S. population is expected to be freelancing either part-time or full-time. Freelancers traditionally work from home or the local coffee shop, but what if you want something cozier than a stuffy corporate office, but more professional than your kitchen table?
Many people believe that standing desks keep workers engaged. And there are excellent examples from the world of literature. To take one example, tributes to the award-winning novelist Philip Roth, who passed away recently at age 85, mention how his standing desk was a regular part of his routine.
Its 3:00pm on a Thursday and you can feel it—that aching soreness down your back and legs. While sitting may seem more comfortable in the short term, staying seated for long hours at work can lead to devastating health conditions. That is why it is important to use a set of office furniture tailored to your daily needs. A standing desk is one furniture option that can help reduce negative health effects by allowing users to stand, or sit on a high stool, while working.
Let's face it, there are three main things that millennials value the most when it comes to working in an office environment. You may be surprised that salary and benefits are not the top priorities - although very important. This generation values: the freedom to collaborate, community, and access to the best in technology. However, there is one thing you don't want to miss the mark on: workspace design.
When Google and other corporate giants decided to implement an open office setting, instead of traditional private offices and cubicles, 70% of the American workforce followed the trend, according to experts. However, some people believe this trend is an epic fail. The Washington Post published that “Google got it wrong. The open-office trend is destroying the workplace. Workplaces need more walls, not fewer.”
Were you aware that the average American worker is productive for only 3 hours daily? In a study of 2,000 full-time workers, it was revealed that many workers are not working for the majority of the time they’re on the job. The average person works approximately 8.8 hours daily, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Considering an open office layout for your new office?