PHOTOS: Dwight Harts Photography
Those of us who commute to a primary workplace know that it is the single place where you spend the most waking hours each week. With more than 80 percent of employed Americans still working in a workplace (vs. working from home), creating spaces that encourage collaboration, creativity, innovation and productivity remains vital for companies.
On top of that, the workforce is changing. Millennials now comprise the majority of working professionals, and it’s well known that their expectations are different from past generations. There is a hyper focus on work/life balance, meaningful connection and flexibility. At the same time, businesses still need to ensure their workplaces support productivity and, of course, the bottom line.
Filling a Growing Need
Colorado ranked 11th for employment growth as of the middle of this year, and we’ve had a significant 2.7 percent increase in the number of jobs created (putting us near the top in the nation). As more people are entering our workforce, companies are looking for ways to differentiate themselves in order to attract and retain top talent.
As Denver quickly becomes a hub for large and small organizations alike, Elements, which provides comprehensive furnishings and architectural solutions for work environments of all types, is finding unique ways to help customers achieve their larger business goals.
Creating this ideal workplace – one that meets the demands of today’s workforce while remaining flexible enough to expand or contract with the business – can be challenging, and not just from a budget perspective.
Creating an Experience-Driven Space
As workplace needs are changing, so is the design of the workplace. The workplace has moved away from just being a backdrop for processing work. Today’s workplace design has become significantly more experience-driven. It has to accommodate for a variety of experiences: heads-down focus work, large and small gatherings or meetings, as well as serving as a social hub for collaboration and culture building.
More space is being devoted to collaboration and innovation, putting the need for agility and flexibility at an all-time high. Residential influences have emerged along with a desire for “uniqueness” in the workplace.
Employers need to be able to find the right combination of agile workplace furnishings and architectural products (things like walls, technology and flooring can have a big impact on the way a space functions). They need support figuring out where to invest for maximum impact and longevity well into the future. They also need to understand how furnishings can work in a smarter building environment geared toward sustainability. In short, they need expertise and some serious product knowledge.
That is exactly what we aim to provide with the new Discovery Center (showroom) in LoDo.
By owning the space, we were able to transform the showroom to meet the needs of different clients, providing value as more businesses flock to Denver and new demands emerge.
A first-of-its kind showroom, and one of the largest of its kind in the nation, our Discovery Center provides comprehensive workplace solutions from hundreds of the top manufacturers, showcasing modern workplace concepts and planning methodologies. Within the space, 35 different types of meeting spaces are shown, along with 75 feet of operable walls, 44 flooring and wall finishes, 200 different ancillary furniture pieces, local artwork, and custom graphics designed by the our marketing professionals. Customized workplace solutions are ultimately created through leveraging relationships with dozens of manufacturers on each project.
PHOTOS: Dwight Harts Photography
Recognizing the Importance of the Test Drive
Instead of just highlighting products, the showroom also serves as a functioning office environment for our own team. By showcasing products in a working office environment, companies are better able to see how everything can work together. Clients can walk through, sit, stand and use the spaces as they would in real life. The serendipitous interactions of the teams prove that the space is functioning just as intended.
Streamlining the Process
Until now, putting together all the elements that go into creating an ideal workplace experience has been time-consuming and cumbersome. Typically, companies had to visit countless vendor showrooms that provided only a small portion of what they wanted to see and experience. The Discovery Center streamlines that process by putting everything under one roof.
As expectations for the workplace have grown and become more sophisticated, the showrooms that employers and designers use to decide on the products they need to create the ideal workplace experience have to evolve as well. \\