In April, the CBRE Saddle Brook office moved back in to its old floor at Park 80, but it wasn’t business as usual. After a brief stint in temporary space, the 120 employees that work in the office moved back in to a space that is an extreme break from the traditional brokerage office of the past.
When talking to my colleagues in Saddle Brook about the new space, I hear words like “collaboration”, “openness”, “technology”, and “wellness”. Ten years ago, you’d be more likely to hear someone singing Barry Manilow tunes than using those words to describe office space, especially for a company where commissions are in play.
However, our new office features an un-tethered work environment, meaning you see people wandering around with their lap tops and headsets and able to work anywhere in the office. In my time in Saddle Brook, I am typically sitting on a couch in a team environment, but there are also numerous conference and huddle rooms, all with the latest technology. Everything is wireless and documents are stored in the “cloud”.
While there are fewer private offices, one of the focuses was creating more “we” space versus “me” space. While some lost their private offices in the transition, there was definitely a trade off. The new space offers employees more reliable and consistent technology, as well as a healthier work environment.
This healthy work environment includes desk that go up and down at the touch of a button, allowing people to work standing up, if they so choose, as well as a treadmill desk for all to share. Jeff Hipschman, our senior managing director, credits his recent loss of 20 pounds to standing most of the day rather than sitting.
What does this mean for our industry and our clients? We are at the forefront of a fundamental shift in how we utilize office space, not only locally, but globally. Activity based workstations are the future, while the traditional private office and cubicle environment will likely go the way of the fax machine. It’s still around, but only very few use it.
The next CBRE project will be my office in East Brunswick and I am anxious to change our model here, something I never thought I would say. It is likely that we are not only going “un-tethered”, but also “unreserved”, meaning no one will have their own office or cubicle. I am looking forward to standing more during the day and taking off a few pounds in the process.