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The Office Evolution

For many of us, we spend the day sitting in a tiny office with no windows.

Some employees are sentenced to life in a cubicle with florescent lights burning over head.

But times are changing.

Imagine a workplace with more windows, coffee cafes, no cubicles or offices, and maybe even a game area like shuffle board.   

These offices exist.  The office evolution is here.

"A lot of businesses are really competing for top talent," explained Heather Turner Loth, project development manager at Eppstein Uhen Architects in Milwaukee.  "Companies are enhancing their workplace (in order to) engage talent, keep talent and recruit top talent."

Businesses are focusing on weaving their brand into the workplace design and creating 'collaboration zones.'  These zones are located across the workplace and give employees to meet up and chat. 

"In the past, (meetings) would be behind closed doors," explained Rich Tennessen, president at EUA.  "Now, half of those meeting spaces are out in the open and people are comfortable in that type of environment.  It also fosters better collaboration."

Bader Rutter is undergoing an office evolution.

The marketing agency is currently relocating it's headquarters from Brookfield to the former Laacke & Joy building on N. Water Street in Milwaukee.

"It's our opportunity to reinvent the way we work," said Larry Engel, account group leader at Bader Rutter.

"Forty percent of the space in our current headquarters (in Brookfield) is taken up by private offices.  In our new space, there will be only four private offices.  Even our CEO and president will be in open work spaces." 

The new location will feature a rooftop deck, a river-walk, a fireplace, plenty of daylight throughout, and plenty of places for open collaboration.

"There isn't going to be a single area where a staff member doesn't have a single view of the outside," Engel beamed.

But what do employees do with all of their stuff?

"(The move from Brookfield) will be more of a challenge," Engel admitted.  "But a move always motivates people to reassess what they have and purge what they don't need. They're going to have less space to put stuff."

The office evolution is here and it's coming soon to a business near you, according to Tennessen.

"It's a very exciting time for companies in the workplace," he said.  "It helps with employee moral and productivity engagement."

Erik Bilstad

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