In the Digital Age, Successful Offices Are Those That Understand Employees as People

Panelists at the event were Haworth’s senior workplace design strategist Anjell Karibian, CBRE’s enior director of workplace strategy Nina Charnotskaia, Ulta Beauty’s manager of facilities and office space planning, Jamie McClaren, Metropolis director of design innovation Susan S. Szenasy, and Gensler senior interior designer Sarah Adams.

Panelists at the event were Haworth’s senior workplace design strategist Anjell Karibian, CBRE’s enior director of workplace strategy Nina Charnotskaia, Ulta Beauty’s manager of facilities and office space planning, Jamie McClaren, Metropolis director of design innovation Susan S. Szenasy, and Gensler senior interior designer Sarah Adams.

“Work has become very exciting;” remarked moderator Susan Szenasy, Metropolis’ director of design innovation, as she introduced the panel of facility design experts at the Haworth Chicago showroom last month. “The way we work is changing every two years, every year, every five minutes.”

Realizing that human capital is the one constant in these shifting sands of the digital age, organizations have begun to embrace and nurture employees as individuals with unique skillsets. “Work is a celebration of human qualities,” suggested Haworth Senior Workplace Design Strategist Anjell Karibian. “No one knows how AI is going to interface with humans; the soft sides of human interaction are going to become more important.”

Gensler Interior Designer Sarah Adams emphasized the importance of vast social spaces for younger associates to learn from one another. “We’re bridging the gap from higher education to the workplace,” explained Adams, who relies on data to educate clients on the importance of providing an array of working environments for a new generation of talent. The choice of when and where to work optimizes employees’ ability to create “moments of impact,” added Nina Charnotskaia, senior director, workplace strategy, CBRE.

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“Our spaces revolve around our associates and our culture,” offered Ulta Beauty’s Manager of Facilities and Office Space Planning, Jamie McClaren. For instance, a recent revamp of Ulta headquarters introduced collaborative spaces, daylight wells, and refrigerators accessible throughout the facility. The Bollingbrook-based company also offers associates the option to work out of a remote office downtown in order to avoid traffic or severe weather.