EXPOSED: CLOSING THE OPEN OFFICE DEBATE: FROM CLOSED TO OPEN OFFICE LAYOUTS, UTAH BUSINESSES CUSTOMIZE ENVIRONMENT TO FIT WORK CULTURE.

Author:Peterson, Eric
 
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Once upon a time, the notion was held that an office only needed to be functional. It could be a windowless cubicle dungeon, dimly lit by the insect-like buzz of a sputtering neon bulb and that was good enough. It helped the company's bottom line by virtue of thrift--or cheapness--depending on where you sat in the building.

Nowadays, managers (thankfully!) realize that an inviting office space, rich with amenities that energize employees, do more to the standard office than make a company profitable. Along the Wasatch Front, trends in collaborative open format office spaces have been driven by the state's robust tech sector but that trend also extends beyond tech companies. Many large businesses are experimenting with open/ closed office hybrids, while other businesses make their mark by repurposing historic buildings or engaging directly with their surrounding locales.

Brandon Fugal, chairman at Colliers International | Utah, says it's exciting to see Utah's dynamic growth in all business sectors, from technology and financial services to the biosciences and aerospace industries. With so much good business in the state, it's also driving a need for companies to get the most out of their workspace, not just for the sake of efficiency, but also for obtaining the right talent.

THE RIGHT OFFICE ATTRACTS THE RIGHT TALENT

"With a tight labor market and record low unemployment, and employee recruitment and retention being the highest priority, companies are exploring new ways of enhancing their office environments in order to differentiate themselves from their competitors," Fugal says.

Amenities from cafeterias to on-site gyms are appealing for employees, making work seem more like a home than an office, and employers are seeing the benefits in an office where their employees can file their reports, make their calls, grab a bite to eat, or get in a workout on site between meetings.

"It's an opportunity for employers to effectively increase productivity in their employees by adjusting the space to people's moods and it also extends the hours," says Cynthia Foster, national director of office services at Colliers International. "Because if people are feeling healthy, social, and fed they don't need to leave the office."

OPEN OFFICE SPACES FOR YOUNGER EMPLOYEES

Another trend that has taken hold-especially with tech companies--are open office formats with shared work tables and spaces to help foster collaboration, a selling point, especially for...

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