A Not-So-Quiet Little Problem: Noise!

The Swig Co. is a San Francisco real-estate firm that owns and manages 9 million square feet of office space on both coasts, much of it in the white-hot Bay Area market, where technology companies compete to lease trendy offices. 

One problem: Swig's own offices weren't exactly cutting-edge.

For 20 years, the company headquarters occupied offices in a historic brick building that Swig owns in San Francisco's financial district. The company often worked with clients who sought airy, modern open offices, but its own space was "extremely traditional," complete with wood paneling in keeping with the style of the 1891 building, says Jay Scholten, the company's vice president for asset management.

By 2015, company leaders had decided it was time to move -- and they wanted a modern, open design that would impress clients.

"At least in San Francisco, it seemed to make sense . . . to change the environment . . . to show our relevancy," says Scholten, who led the upgrade project. "We wanted to show, using our own office, how [clients] might address issues."

The company moved into nearby space in the same building, keeping some private offices but generally adopting an open design with lots of glass and open space. Client reactions were encouraging, Scholten says. The new offices "seemed to resonate with tech companies and startups."

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