In this episode, we sit down with architect Lee Beukelman and interior designer Morgan Driskell to embark on a deep dive into the realm of flexible workspace design. Drawing from their extensive experiences, Lee and Morgan share invaluable insights into the nuances of crafting work environments that adapt to the evolving needs of today's professionals. We explore the pros and cons of flexible workspaces, unraveling the strategies they've implemented to enhance functionality and foster collaboration. Join us in this enlightening conversation as we unravel the future of office design and discuss the innovative approaches that shape tomorrow's workplaces.

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Episode Transcript

Skyler: Welcome to another episode of Laying the Foundation.

Skyler: Welcome everybody to another episode of Laying the Foundation. My name is Skylar, I'm your host, and today I'm sitting in our very own conference room here at CMBA Architects with Lee and Morgan, two of our team members here, Lee, your architect. And you've been on the show before multiple times.

Lee: I'm always surprised.

Lee: You keep asking me back.

Skyler: Yeah, it's true. It's true. I just, you know, I don't have very many other people to choose from. So I'm just kidding. Um, and then we have Morgan. Morgan, this is your first time here. You're one of our amazing interior designers here at our Sioux city office. Welcome to the show. Thank you.

Skyler: Yeah, absolutely. And today we're going to be talking about, uh, the topic of office environments, the topic of designing offices. You know, we're in 2024 right now. We just. Just got into 2024 no less. Two years ago, we were dealing with COVID and all the challenges, uh, that, that kind of brought with it within the workplace.

Skyler: People were trying to work from home. People were trying to figure out how they could work from home and all this other stuff. Um, so there was a big difference between our pre COVID office designs that we were doing because nobody kind of really expected such a situation or planned for a situation.

Skyler: And then what we're kind of dealing with now, can you guys give me a little bit of a, of information to kind of kick things off within that area. Yeah.

Lee: The reason we find ourselves kind of where we're at here is we as a company, we, so we have five offices across the Midwest here. And most of those offices were designed pre COVID.

Lee: Yep. Well, we're coming back to kind of the full round. Right back to Sioux city, which was the first one that had been remodeled with back in 2010. Oh, wow. Uh, when I first showed up, actually, we had just moved in. So thanks for, so when it came back to, and it hasn't changed since probably 2010, maybe a few things here and there, but when we came back postcode, if we will, we put out a survey.

Lee: You know, cause we were looking at how do we remodel this office now and the data and the, through the interviews and things like that, that we did just internally just brought back drastically different needs and wants than, uh, what we had been seeing in our office remodels prior, you know, so it was just like a, just a whole change.

Lee: And now we've, we've talked to clients about these changes in their own offices, but to experience firsthand, especially as an architecture company where collaboration is huge. Right. And how teams and zoom and all those things have changed so many aspects of what we do. So that's kind of the pre COVID thing that we've just experienced ourselves and post COVID of what we sat down to look at our own office and we're like, well, yeah, how does an architecture firm?

Lee: Work post COVID, you know,

Skyler: so, and I guess we're at a kind of key forefront of that because you guys are people that design offices and other buildings all the time. So it's kind of like, Hey, these are the perfect people to kind of spearhead that concept and move forward and kind of bring new

Lee: things in a light.

Lee: I would say we are our own worst clients.

Morgan: I think that a lot of these topics that we're going to be discussing today, the workplace environment was already probably moving in this direction, right? The lockdowns and people working from home and all the remote work that people did really just forced it into kind of a fast track mode and people had to.

Morgan: So, um, I think it's really quickly to what that looked like for each company. And then coming back, it just gave everyone a little bit of a reset because we now have so many different ways that we can work and people have different experiences and what worked for them and what maybe didn't. So that's part of what is just.

Morgan: Kind of furthering this conversation.

Skyler: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it is kind of funny to see how COVID, as terrible as a lot of aspects of it were, there was also kind of an aspect of it being a real kick in the pants to a lot of different things to kind of just move forward, move in a direction and, and better itself.

Skyler: One of them being kind of this whole concept of, I guess, hybrid workspaces probably be the way to define it. So what is, what all does that entail within a hybrid workspace? What does that mean?

Lee: So what we're going to touch on here. Yeah, is when you asked us about office environments, Morgan and I sat down and we kind of went through, uh, our surveys and there was five kind of key pieces that jumped out as different than probably in the past.

Lee: Um, so that's what we're going to talk about. And one of those is a hybrid work environments. What does that mean? Right? So obviously the work we've touched on it, working from home is a big piece of it. We have a work in, um, work from home policy here at CMBA. So you can work two days a week. Um, from your home or you can work here in the office or, uh, wherever it may be.

Lee: So we really need to figure out how to strike that balance between supporting a collaborative environment and kind of the amenities that, uh, the employees who split their time, like, how do we, how do we blend those together? Like. Right. Those types of things, but

Skyler: I think we need to make sure you have the access to the, to the same resources to some extent, to whatever extent available.

Skyler: Right. You can take your laptop with you and you can work from home, but sometimes there's other aspects of, of the workplace that aren't necessarily available to you. So unless you're there in person, Yeah, which is obviously a bit of a challenge there. So

Morgan: it's something that is important to that's come up in our discussions is just what is it that people are coming to the office for now because they do have the opportunity to work from home.

Morgan: So what's different about coming to work here? What are the benefits? What's kind of the draw to bring people back to the office? Because I think everyone realizes that there's benefit in. Everyone being together and not spending all of the time of work at home. So what are those key pieces that we can put into each space that we design that help to just.

Morgan: add another level of benefit to those that are coming into the office to work.

Skyler: Right.

Lee: Right. The other side of that coin though is we may have that here at CMBA, but others also have the remote policy. Yeah. So how do we engage with meetings with others that aren't in offices? Right, so we, we used to go to offices to.

Lee: Have meetings about their office, but now they're pulling people from multiple places. So we need to be, have the adaptation to have those zoom meetings and teams calls. And, uh, what that's really changed within our environment. We'll get into this a little bit more is, uh, more and more people are on headsets, having conversations right at their desks.

Lee: Right. And that comes into play on a couple of things here, but that just adds a lot of extra noise. Yes. To the office from a, from a standpoint of. Can you hear your meeting clearly? Are they listening to a conversation? Two desks downs because your mics are picking it up. That's right. Like we're sitting in this room right now.

Lee: It's probably got some echo, right? You moved us from one room to the next. So yeah, to to remove that, but with the audio, our space is supporting that extra on phone chatter or, you know, mic chatter that yeah. We're, we're not used to. So,

Skyler: so thinking about that, what, what kind of solutions are there for, you know, you have your typical kind of cubicle set up.

Skyler: Um, that's not super conducive to that kind of idea that multiple people are in their own little cubicles and they're all got their headphones on and they're all talking and some people are louder than others, but whatever the case, all that sound is kind of in a, uh, semi open area that it can kind of influence each other's workspaces.

Skyler: What do we do about that?

Morgan: That's right. So acoustically, there are a lot of ways that we can address this issue. In our office specifically, we like to have a very open office environment. We can see everyone that's here. It makes a very collaborative. Workspace. Um, but then acoustically that is a challenge because there's nothing really to block the sound.

Morgan: So there are certain just materials that we use to help deaden acoustics and things like that. But also I think what's important in that we're starting to implement into more of these open spaces is just smaller group areas to, you know, kind of pull your team into or have individual, what we call zoom rooms or little meeting rooms, phone booths.

Morgan: Sometimes people call them so that if you know, you're going to be on a call and you have people around you, you can duck into that little space. That's very acoustically secure. Have that conversation and then go back out into your central meeting space. So really the completely open office with no walls or acoustical treatments doesn't serve that purpose very well anymore.

Morgan: I think it used to be that. Most of the meetings happened in a large conference room that was very formal and very private. Now there's just a lot more small groups and teamwork that we do where two or three people may need to just hop into a little room, have a quick conversation, call up someone else on the phone and do that in a way where they're not disturbing the rest of the

Skyler: office.

Skyler: Yeah, absolutely. So do you guys see like in the projects that you guys have been working on lately, kind of that. I hate to use the word trend that kind of, I know some people look at that and they're like, eh, I don't really like to use the word trend. Cause you know, so just kind of like a beginning and end to something, whereas we kind of want to like find ways to move forward.

Skyler: But anyways, for lack of better words, trend of moving away from those large conference rooms in the stuff that you guys have designed and kind of shrinking those down into smaller sections. Cause now, I mean you go anywhere you see like these big ornate conference rooms. Now, now we're looking at. You know, maybe smaller, uh, smaller versions, changing the, the materials that are being used in those versions for this purpose of these online meetings that are going to be a higher focus.

Lee: I think there's been a, definitely an increase in products available and like furniture elements that support that and whether they're built in or. You just go and purchase these retrofit options, literally you just go purchase what I am going to call a phone booth like back in the day, right? They're just acoustically sealed, um, elements, or you start to see kind of like restaurant booths, but they're, but they're kind of enclosed with a bunch of.

Lee: material on there where you still have visual access and even kind of acoustical access really, but when you sit in this little booth, it really closes you in and you feel like you're separate, but yet you still have this idea that you're connected to everyone. Sure. And I would just note acoustics was the number one ask or complaint in our employee survey that we need to correct that during our office.

Lee: Sure. Sure.

Skyler: Well, it's frustrating because like. Even if I'm just working on something that's distracting, but imagine you're having a phone conversation or a zoom meeting or whatever the case, and I'm also having a zoom meeting, and I can't, you know, be involved in that meeting because Phil, we don't have a, here we go, which is, I'm trying to think of a name that we don't have in the office so that nobody feels like they're being called out.

Skyler: But Phil, you know, in the cubicle next to me is shouting into his microphone and, Whatever the case. So yeah, I can see how that'd be. That's kind of the

Morgan: dual purpose of these phone booths or these small little team rooms that we're creating now. Aside from the people that are having those phone calls or having those Zoom meetings, if there's a lot of chatter and just noise going around in the office in general, and you need to do some real heads down focus work, that's a spot for you to go and have some quiet, intentional focus work time.

Skyler: So what is the like layout and like physical appearance of these quote unquote foam booth look like? Because in my mind I just picture like a TARDIS in the middle for anybody that knows Dr. Who we have to find Ardi. Sorry. So in Dr. Who they have like a literal, it's a phone booth. Yeah. I mean it's literally a British phone

Morgan: booth.

Morgan: Modern, yeah. A modern version of that. That has a lot of. Acoustics built into it. There can be technology integrated into it. Kind of a ceiling or a leaning

Lee: bench. Some of them, whatever. Really small. You just kind of, you don't fully sit, but you just kind of lean up against a bench. Perch.

Skyler: Perch. Perch.

Skyler: Alright. Awesome. Okay. And like, how do you, do they usually? Go like on the edges of an office. I guess it doesn't really matter

Morgan: throughout some some can be moved around the office Sometimes we see them more built in like Lee mentioned you picture kind of a restaurant booth that still has one side completely open But if you have this surround that's going overhead and has certain materials with it It can really deaden a lot of the sound around

Lee: you Some of the ones that we were looking at for our office had glass on both sides though Oh and a door from both sides, so I mean, you, again, you still felt connected to everybody, but you were still kind of in the zone on your own thing.

Lee: You know what I mean? Absolutely. Because they do get small. So if you have problems with cluster, yeah, that'd be a little bit of a problem because they can get single person to four person. Right. Sure.

Skyler: A lot of different sizes. We want those larger ones, slightly larger ones. You don't want to go too small sometimes.

Skyler: But yeah, I guess that That would really depend on the person

Morgan: that I looked at one product that said, um, perfect for one, uncomfortable for two.

Skyler: That's amazing. So, okay. Coming with all of this need for these different spaces in order to do like you said, zoom meetings and things along those lines comes also the need for the technology to do those things and integrating that into these new spaces.

Skyler: How do, what are we looking at there? How do we kind of. Issue number two.

Lee: Yes. Top priority list. And I can talk to that just this morning. I had a meeting in the conference room and I had to pack up my laptop. I had to put my headset that was still on a wire along with my mouse, along with my charger, along with my notepad.

Lee: It's like, so how are we making the spaces that we're creating? Multifunctional from a technology standpoint, like where we can leave and just pick up. And I know there's things like I'm looking at one on your table. I was going to say

Skyler: our table right here with all the microphones and all this other stuff.

Skyler: Yeah,

Lee: you can clean it up pretty easy. But really what it is, the technology's got to work, right? And it's got to be streamlined and easy, right? The saying is technology is great when it works. Yes. And so how are we planning our spaces to have multiple hookups? That where you can just pick up and go and you don't have to pack up your entire desks to go.

Lee: Cause if that's the case, then there's no point in having a laptop, right? It's just too, too convoluted. So that's really the biggest thing that came out of it for us. That if, if we're going to move around, we got to make it easy to move around, you know, and really it just comes back to all the stuff that we got to take with us, you know, and that's a transition as, as architects and designers, we like to sketch, we like to draw.

Lee: Sure. And so we carry around our pens and paint. Papers all the time, you know,

Skyler: well, and even outside of technology, you know, there's other mediums to that. Some people work with. Yeah, absolutely. So creating

Lee: those zones where you maybe go do that type of activity. Okay. Right. So just from our office, you know, we're creating this library space that's kind of got the shred space and it's got all the creative pieces and then we've got the group rooms and just setting those rooms up to really function well.

Lee: For what they're designed to do because

Morgan: if you're going to ask someone to pick up their stuff and leave their desk to go to one of these, let's say phone booths to have a meeting, it needs to not be a hindrance to them where they're having to plug in or it seems like kind of a makeshift option. So we're trying to just integrate that and think ahead for what these spaces are going to be used for and tailor the technology.

Morgan: To that specific space.

Skyler: Yeah, absolutely. And I know the marketing department doesn't really help when we're all using Macs and everybody else is using PCs. That is

Lee: a challenge. You're welcome.

Skyler: Keeping you guys on your toes.

Lee: Attention architecture professionals, are you looking for an employment opportunity that will provide you with a wonderful work culture and a competitive pay rate?

Lee: Look no further than CMBA Architects. Our firm offers flexible scheduling, a casual dress code, and a great work environment that will help you collaborate and create. Plus, who doesn't love having

Skyler: Fridays off? To learn more about our available positions, visit the careers page at cmbaarchitects. com and apply to join the CMBA team.

Skyler: No, absolutely. And there's more, I'd assume, to this sort of concept of being able to move around within the space. You go to the phone booths, you take your meetings, right? But I know you, Lee, are a big proponent for, uh, like the standing and being able to like jump between, like, I want to be at a sitting desk or I want to be at a standing desk, or I don't know.

Skyler: We've had a few people in the office that have, maybe I'm not a

Lee: big proponent. No, I'm all for it. Sure. That, that's another piece of it. Yeah. That, how are we building in the comfort? Yeah. Of our spaces. That's a big one. Office environments used to be very corporate feeling. Right. I knew you were stepping into an office, but to borrow your word.

Lee: Yeah. I don't like it either. Trend is offices are pushing more to that more home like environment and What does that mean for a company to build a, it kind of goes to what Morgan's saying, like, why do people want to come to the office? Right. Right. If they can sit at home and do all these things, but why do we want them to come, you know?

Lee: And so how are our office supporting similar atmospheres because a home can be an office and how can our office reflect very similar things? And there's a few ways that I think. You can do that. One of them being you and I have talked about this. We haven't done a podcast on it, but it's, you know, you walk around your house, you walk around your backyard, you have visual outside.

Lee: Is that biophilic design? Yes. How are you bringing the outside in? Yep. How does that, how's that natural elements, uh, fill your office, fill your space because it's, I'd say it's just that scientifically proven that those natural elements boost our productivity and boost our emotions and all those, all those good things.

Lee: Right. Right.

Morgan: And I would say it's something that a lot of people don't notice unless it's bad, unless it's poorly executed, like we've all been in spaces that have zero windows or the lighting is super cold or dim and just the environment overall isn't a pleasant one to be in. And again, I think it's another thing where it's successfully done if it's not something that you think a whole lot about, but if you're.

Morgan: Environment is comfortable to be in. Then you can just go about your work.

Skyler: Like, like it's easy. Yeah, absolutely. Yep. So out of curiosity, this is just something that I kind of thought of. Um, probably not long after you and I had talked about it, Lee, when we first kind of discussed the idea of biophilic design in a previous episode, when it comes down to it, does it matter just out of curiosity?

Skyler: If it's a real plant, for instance, in the office, or if it's a fake plant, it doesn't, it doesn't. Okay. It's more just the idea of it. That kind of creates that, that positive emotion and everything else that stems from that.

Lee: If you actually take note on a lot of the. The desktops and the PCs that we have, the default backgrounds are nature based backgrounds and they rotate through nature.

Lee: And the, I think that's a psychological thing for a computer. Like they're trying to make you feel like you're outside, you know, you go into our, our healthcare could talk a lot about this too, you know, the CTE or the MRIs, you know, up on the ceiling, the pictures of clouds and skies, open spaces, because you're going into a really tiny hole, you know?

Lee: So, yeah, it's, it's just the idea of your brain.

Skyler: It's an association. Okay. Very cool. Very cool. There

Lee: are. So you can put all the fake plants you want. Right. We don't all have to be the Steve Ambrose

Skyler: with all these real plants and there's something easy

Lee: about that.

Morgan: Even in healthcare studies, they've measured just a patient's ability to heal.

Morgan: Yeah. Post surgery, whether or not they had a view to the outside or even just a photo of some sort of picture that was on the wall of nature and how much that played a positive impact on it. So, wow,

Skyler: you see, and that just, oh man, every time somebody mentions that, it just really blows my mind that that's how that works.

Skyler: Like our brains work in such a way that it can like associate things and then kind of have a response from that is just absolutely insane.

Lee: So kind of going with that, you know. Color, daylighting, the type of lights, you know, they have lights now that they dim with your circadian rhythms, you know, so it matches the type of day, but they also dim, uh, to moods.

Lee: You know, you can change the colors of them to, to kind of help you throughout the day. And if you kind of make those more of a task or those certain spaces can have different moods. Okay. Control, you know, really, really help that. But then, yeah, do we have access to daylight, you know, just to, again, help kind of boost that the moods and the motivation levels that they're been proven to do?

Lee: Yeah, absolutely.

Skyler: And how do we I mean, you guys have definitely probably worked with spaces that aren't. Super open as far as like having access to the outside world. Like, what do you do in situations like that where, you know, maybe it just doesn't have a whole lot of windows, especially with healthcare facilities.

Skyler: I know we're talking about office spaces. I got to keep kind of bringing it back to that, but I'm sure there's offices out there that currently exists that we've done maybe some renovations in and things that are redesigns in general that they're just really closed off for the most part. Or, you know, even here.

Skyler: Uh, at our Sioux city office, you look out at one window and it's just a wall because it's the building next door. Like, what do you do with that? How do you work these biofeel, like these natural elements into it? Even though you're kind of left with sort of a, a little bit of a dead end there.

Lee: Right. Well, that's, that goes back to your original question of how we can kind of trick the brain to some of those things, right?

Lee: That we can make it, we can make it look like we're outside when we're really probably not out there, you know, even the lighting. Temperatures of lights. Your, your mind can think if you hit the right Kelvin in the, in the night, right. It can, it simulates daylight. Okay. So you kind of get that same, the same effects, but just maybe not directly.

Lee: So yeah, there, there's just little ways to do it here and there, but there's probably no real replacement other than windows, so it's a matter of getting up. To those giving places to go. Yeah. That you don't sit at your cube the entire day. Right. Like I can take this, I can go move next to a window for a while.

Lee: Or I can go move to my den, whatever you want to call it, you know, where there's no windows. So, okay.

Morgan: No, I think that's a good point that if you are in a space that doesn't have an abundance of windows and maybe not everyone gets a window out of their office or where they're spending most of their time, at least to try to have a shared space where all of the employees can use.

Morgan: So if that's a lunchroom or a little break or coffee area that people can still get away from their desk for a few minutes, they can enjoy. The daylight, the outdoors, step outside, if there's a little patio, we sometimes use a rooftop up here. Um, so just having spaces like that where everyone has some access to it.

Morgan: And then I would also say that there are quite a few interior products that are bringing some sort of plant life or biophilia into the space. So we see a lot of actual living walls that are plants that are being watered. Basically become the entire wall or moss. And there's a lot of options out there.

Morgan: They have a really great aesthetic to them. And then also to have these biophilic benefits to them as well.

Skyler: It's like putting a zoo inside of the, minus the animals. Well, that explains some things. Cause I know you always criticize me, Lee, for, for eating my lunch at my desk. And it kind of takes away from you.

Morgan: I think socially too, this is one of the big things. All right. on our website and we also do have a lot of virtual meetings about bringing people to the office, but then beyond that, at times up and away from their computer. Right. So much of the work that we do is on our computer or on our phone or in these virtual meetings now, but there's so much to be said about the face to face interaction and just kind of that social time and to me that's one of the biggest benefits of having an office where that is kind of your.

Morgan: That's the culture and that's where you get to see people and interact whether it's about work or something else.

Skyler: Yeah, so kind of playing off of that concept of like Skylar you should be eating in the lunchroom with other people apparently. Stop secluding yourself at your desk. Kind of going off of that, we have this kind of concept that creating that social, that culture, uh, things along those lines, what are we doing to, cause that's an aspect of things that would bring people back to the office.

Skyler: Right. That's something I can't get if I'm working from home. So what kind of things are we doing to encourage that sort of social aspect outside of just, you know, using the lunchroom?

Morgan: So I think, I mean, we all know that we spend a lot of time in the office and a good chunk of our day is spent here and more and more.

Morgan: I think employees are looking for other amenities and benefits that they can have at their workplace. We see gyms,

Lee: like weight gyms, not necessarily like basketball gym, right? Oh, sure.

Morgan: Yeah. Sorry. Exercise rooms, fitness rooms, um, you know, more expensive kitchens. Yeah. Um, coffee areas, um, those are all getting a little bit more robust and become other areas for different people throughout the day to just have those quick interactions even with one another.

Morgan: So if there's little touchdown spots that are spread out throughout the office where, you know, maybe we aren't working on something together, but if I'm passing someone just throughout the office, it makes It makes sense to stop and talk to someone there and have that social interaction just throughout my day.

Morgan: Yeah,

Skyler: absolutely. It brightens things up. You know, you get to, you get to be closer to the other people that you're working with to some extent, you know, Hey, how are the, how are the kids, you know, how are things going at home, but also, you know, when it comes to the work, right? Like you bring something up that you're working on, hopefully maybe that causes some, uh, opportunity for collaboration or whatever the case and, and yeah, just sparking that social aspect that can lead to a hundred different directions.

Skyler: Yep. All right. So obviously you're working at an office, therefore you're probably working at a company and the company has very specific things that they, you know, sort of use as their branding as somebody working in marketing, obviously, you know, I have a pretty good grasp on this and you guys have worked with a lot of different companies and schools and.

Skyler: Everything in between and they all have their own branding. How do we work with a situation where, you know, we've got all these ideas for what we want the office to look like in the office to feel like, and, uh, the way that we interact with one another, but we also have to integrate all these aspects of the company itself.

Skyler: How are we, how are we kind of marrying those two areas together?

Lee: Yeah. So I was really surprised when this one actually showed up on the survey as we need to do more brand.

Skyler: It was probably somebody from marketing. Probably,

Lee: probably right. Christy. We're just sitting there just fuming like, Oh, there's not enough orange in this place.

Lee: But you know, when we dig it, when we dug into that a little bit more, it was so at CMBA, part of our culture is, you know, we celebrate our people, like our people are very important to us. So it was, how do we. How do we showcase our people? How do we showcase the achievements of our people? How do we keep our culture of a fun, you know, Skylar, you're in charge of kind of our fun club, if you will, or your culture club.

Lee: So it's how do we keep those things in front of our people at all times so it can. Kind of just gets ingrained in us. Right. And so that really came back in the surveys of just, Hey, we need to, we need to celebrate our people even more visually than I just didn't expect that, I guess. But there's other ways, you know, that brand integration comes down to, yeah, your, your colors, uh, your slogans, your, your mission statements, uh, those types of things, but even broader than that is how are you integrating your brand or your company?

Lee: into your surrounding community, right? You know, it's easy for a school to do that, right? They kind of are sometimes the brand of a community, you know. Um, they're, they're, they're the mascot. They're the, whatever their school name is. But how does a company take on, you know, For us, how does, how do we represent Sioux city and what are we accepting, you know, here, like we're in an old, uh, remodeled warehouse of Sioux city.

Lee: So we're kind of in an historical building, you know, so how do we keep that brand integration going and make that a part of who we are and how does another company do that same thing, you know, accept or be who they are in the community and what the community represents. Yeah, absolutely. And I

Morgan: think that goes two ways in our line of work, we have clients that are coming into our office and we want those clients to walk in and feel like.

Morgan: They're at CMBA, they're at this architecture firm and that the branding and the projects that we're showcasing, that those make sense and that that's a recognizable brand for our clients and those in everyone that we work with. And then also like how Lee mentioned, it's beyond the colors and the logo.

Morgan: It's much more about setting the tone for your employees. And this is where. Again, we touched on it a little bit, but veering a little bit more away from the real, you know, some people have a very professional looking office and it's maybe a little bit more traditional what you've seen in the past. Some are going a little bit more progressive or maybe it's more home like and that.

Morgan: Just kind of sets the tone for how people are expected to act and to work. And is this a fun and creative environment or is this more heads down, serious work? We're all pretty private here. The finishes that you choose and the way that you set up your space really can determine that and push people in one direction or another.

Skyler: Right. Right. And that's gotta be kind of a tricky thing to kind of bridge the gap of is like, we want it to be a comfortable place. We want it to feel. Um, kind of, I don't want to say homely, but, you know, positive and comfortable for the people that are working there, but we also want to have this. Sort of sense of professionalism that anyone that is coming into our office and walking in and looking around Doesn't feel like they're just walking into some casual, you know, everybody's here just to hang out and yeah, they do some work I think I don't know.

Skyler: They're kind of lounging around on chairs and stuff I can't tell you know and so there's definitely that challenge there for sure of finding that sort of space in between of keeping people comfortable and happy but also Making sure that we understand that this is a, this is a workplace. That's

Morgan: a big part of the front end work that Lee and I do with all of our clients, really is just figuring out who they are, who they want to be.

Morgan: We get into the materials and the finishes and even the layout a little bit later, but we have a whole chunk of time at the beginning where we're just discovering who they are. What is that vibe and the feeling and what do they want to promote within their space? And then that helps just guide every decision moving forward once we have that nailed down.

Skyler: Yeah, absolutely. And it is kind of, it's kind of fun. It's, it's definitely a challenge, but it's kind of fun to like, look through just so many aspects of a company and say like. Sure. This is the work that you do. And we could find ways to integrate, you know, architecture into the way that we design the office.

Skyler: But what about your company history? You know, how can we work that into the sort of story and feel that we create into the office? And then of course, there's the other elements of like, what are healthy concepts to put into the office? How do we integrate those? So there's a lot of different areas. But it's also a lot of different inspiration sources to pull from, which is kind of cool.

Skyler: So putting that all together is like, when you see it at the end, I'm sure it's very, very satisfying and relieving, but I'm sure along the way, it's kind of like, I can imagine pretty hectic and maybe a little crazy sometimes. Yeah, it can

Lee: be sometimes. Yeah. You, the things you learn, you just kind of, all right, we'll go with that.

Lee: You know, if that's who you are, we'll, we'll run with that and we'll, we'll play it out and, you know, but it is fun going back, we always do like an 11 month walkthrough. You know, after it's been built for 11 months and it is fun to go back and talk to the people to see how it's going. And I mean, it's even more fun when they invite you back to do kind of like an ex phase or something like that, you know, but then you get to hear about the good, the bad and the ugly really, right.

Lee: You know, how did it go? Okay. No, we're not doing that again, you know, and that's fine. You know, we, we all learn through those processes. So,

Skyler: and obviously, you know, even like the biophilic, we talked about that. That's a fairly new area of. Of science and thinking. So we're always learning and we're always growing.

Skyler: We're always finding new things to, to integrate. So that's awesome. So what have I not mentioned or what hasn't been brought up so far? I don't want to like drop this and you know, workplace design is pretty, there's a hundred and one aspects that we could really get nitty gritty details about, but I just want to make sure I didn't miss anything that you guys had listed.

Lee: Oh yeah. I mean, there, there's a lot of places we could go. You could talk about flow arrangements and all those kinds of things, but really. The, the five things that we covered today, the technology, the acoustics, the social, is your office a social place? Is it a, is it a comfortable place and how are you integrating brand?

Lee: We talk about those with clients, but those were kind of the five big things that came out of our company as a, as a firm, you know, pre or post COVID. And so I would, you know, if anybody's a business out there listening to this, take time to talk to your employees, see what they're saying, you know, cause you were surprised at what, what we learned, you know, so definitely take that time and listen.

Lee: To what to what they're out to say.

Skyler: Absolutely. Well, thank you both for being on the show. Morgan, thanks so much for joining the podcast. Thank you, Skylar. And we'll hopefully have you on again later. Um, and then Lee returning. I'm not going to say like too much because. That's right. You've already heard it before, but whatever the case, thank you guys both for being on.

Skyler: And of course, thank you for listening. This has been another episode of laying the foundation. I'm your host. Skylar, and if you want to find out a little bit more about CMBA architects, see pictures of our office spaces, as well as, uh, office spaces that we've designed, you can go to our website at CMBA architects.

Skyler: com, or you can head over to our social media pages, whether that be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, and you can see all kinds of pictures and projects that we've worked on there as well. Any of which both of these two, uh, sitting with me today might've been involved with, and of course. Don't forget to subscribe, follow, whatever it's called, wherever you're listening, uh, to the Laying the Foundation podcast.

Skyler: We're on Spotify. We're on Apple podcasts. We're on just about anywhere that you can find podcasts. You'll find us there. So make sure to do that. And once again, thank you for listening. This has been another episode of Laying the Foundation.

Post by CMBA
January 25, 2024