You’ve heard of it, you might have secretly envied the 24/7 sushi bar at Google, or maybe you work in such a space already—but the creative office space trend is picking up serious momentum.
Its origins possibly date back to the dot-com era when startup companies preserved their limited capital by buying spare doors and sawhorses instead of traditional desks (Amazon’s Jeff Bezos started out this way) and has picked up in the renaissance of tech boom 2.0 as companies look to attract and retain more casual, collaborative IT engineers, programmers, Millennials and “creative economy types” like designers.

There is no one set model for what constitutes creative space. While in many cases, it’s a “you know it when you see it” situation, the creative office tends to be typified by:

  • Open floor plans where offices are few and coworkers share the same workspace, or even sit and work together
  • Nontraditional offerings like coffee bars, yoga studios, and game rooms
  • Incorporating the existing architectural features and character of the space or building, as opposed to hiding them behind drop ceilings or bland beige walls
  • Lower, transparent panels and more natural light to supplement or replace overhead fluorescents
  • New twists on standard office amenities, such as treadmill desks, fun themed kitchens and break rooms, and outdoor balconies or exterior space that can be used as team meeting places or for larger company events
  • Nonstandard conference rooms: whether sized to fit four people or forty, the standard prefabricated board-room style table has been replaced with modular furniture for different configurations, rolling SMART Boards, and even bean bag chairs.

Get started with your own creative office:

If you’ve been curious about the possibilities of the creative office for your company, contact the Facilities Services and Support team at Corovan for a complimentary brainstorm session.

Let’s Get Practical

Creative office spaces are not all about fun and whimsy, however—there are practical applications, too, namely to facilitate technology and enable the fast pace of modern-day business.

Even more traditional corporate firms incorporate aspects of creative space. It can reflect the sophistication of a corporate brand, attract a certain type of clientele, attract talent, and even reduce absenteeism and costs associated with repetitive injuries for both employers and employees, thanks to ergonomic furniture and stand-up desks.

It can also impact a company’s bottom line: as the square-foot price of commercial real estate has gone up, companies have compensated by increasing occupancy in their current space or downsizing to smaller quarters and doing away with traditional cubicle-based layouts that require more room per employee.

In essence, the days of workers spending eight hours at a desk are over. The individual workstation is just a starting point—conceivably, the whole office has the potential to become an employee’s workspace. An employee may start their day at their desk, but spend time in conference rooms grabbing a quiet moment, meeting in a kitchen, or Skyping with remote colleagues at a corner “touch down” table meant for impromptu quick meetings. And in comfortable, aesthetically unique surroundings, employees aren’t in a rush to hit the exits come 5 PM.

In the creative workspace, traditional desks give way to stand-up desks or benching systems. Benching arrangements put teams together in dinner table-like configurations that foster collaboration for larger groups of people in less square footage.

Creative Office Space Inspiration

Looking for a sleek way to modernize your workspace? Corovan recently installed stylish and space-saving desks for a software client in San Diego, while also incorporating office furniture to make the most of their workspace. Learn more about our services >>

It’s Time to Rearrange

In the new paradigm, don’t be surprised to see the old CEO corner office model replaced by execs sitting with the rank-and-file or rotating offices every quarter or so to get face-time with, or daily exposure to, different facets or teams in the organization.

While employees may be getting more up close and personal with their neighboring colleagues than in the past, privacy and noise levels become a concern. This is ameliorated by acoustic or noise-dampening measures like carpeting, dropped ceilings, walls, partitions, and even white noise machines in the background.

Is the trend just another flash in the pan? Our prediction is “no,” given:

  • the demands of the 24/7 globally linked economy
  • the competitive need to attract a highly qualified workforce
  • the increasing importance of corporate brand
  • the passive growth from building owners or management companies who will need to decide if the cost of refitting creative offices for new tenants is worth the investment.

Next: [Part 2] Considering a Creative Office? Here’s What to Know First »

Creative office spaces may be de rigueur these days for ad agencies and software companies. But in addition to looking great, they have business and strategic advantages for almost any type of business or organization, when thoughtfully deployed. Our special three-part series examines the trend and how your company might benefit.