Connected & Ready

Reshaping the office for a hybrid workforce, with Dan Montroy and Steven Andersen

Episode Summary

As many companies shift to long-term hybrid work environments, their use of physical office space becomes increasingly important to their strategy and culture. In this episode of Connected & Ready, host Gemma Milne is joined by Dan Montroy and Steven Andersen, principals at Montroy Andersen DeMarco Group, Inc. (MADGI), an interior design firm focused on the design of complex spaces, to talk about how the shift to more remote work impacts the design of office environments, key technologies they think best support modern office spaces, and how business leaders can think differently about their workspaces. Dynamics 365 is helping businesses of all sizes unify their data and create a digital-first culture. With next generation ERP and CRM business applications, employees at every level can reason over data, predict trends and make proactive, more-informed decisions. Request a live demo of Dynamics 365 today: https://aka.ms/AA8vns5 Thank you for listening to Connected & Ready! Do you have ideas of how we can improve the show? Want to recommend a guest for us to interview? We value your partnership and participation. Please drop us a note at connectedandready@microsoft.com. We would love to hear from you.

Episode Notes

Gemma Milne talks with Dan Montroy and Steve Andersen, principals at interior design firm MADGI, about how trends in remote and hybrid work are transforming the world of office space design and architecture.

About Dan Montroy, AIA:

Dan has been a registered architect since 1987. In addition to serving as Principal of MADGI, he leads the firm of Montroy DeMarco Architecture LLP (MDA), which is an affiliated architecture studio. With more than 30 years of experience, Daniel is NCARB certified and a registered architect in New York, Connecticut, Georgia, Florida, Washington, D.C., and Massachusetts. His areas of expertise include workplace design, repositioning of commercial properties, and landlord services.

About Steven Andersen:

Steven is Principal of MADGI, was born into a family with a legacy of work in the construction industry. Steven has nurtured a love and knowledge of design throughout his life. It is this love that led him to study the art of architecture in Italy at the American University of Rome, receive his Bachelors of Architecture degree from the New York Institute of Technology, and ultimately to create an architectural and design firm with his long-time friend, Daniel Montroy, AIA. He has spent 29 years honing his abilities focused on corporate interior spaces, with a particular affinity for fragrance and cosmetics offices, laboratories, and showroom spaces.

Learn more:

http://www.madgi.com/

 

Topics of discussion

 

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Episode Transcription

Gemma [00:00:05] Hello and welcome. You're listening to Connected and Ready, an ongoing conversation about innovation, resilience, and our capacity to succeed brought to you by Microsoft. I'm Gemma Milne. I'm a technology journalist and author. And I'm going to be exploring trends around how companies are adapting to a disrupted world and preparing for tomorrow. We're going to speak to the innovators who are bringing products, operations, and people together in new ways. In today's episode, I'm chatting with Daniel Montroy, managing partner and founding principle of Montroy DeMarco architecture, and Steven Anderson, principal and design director of Montroy Anderson DeMarco, all about how organizations should be thinking about reshaping their office for a more modern experience. They talk us through how rising remote work impacts the role and design of physical office spaces and how best to design an office for new ways of working. And additionally, we dive deep into the role of flexibility as well as versatility play in the future workspace. Before we start, I want to thank all of you listeners out there. If you have a topic or a person you'd love to hear in the show, please send us an email at connectedandready@microsoft.com. We're so thankful for you all. Now on with the episode. Daniel, Stephen, thank you so much for coming and joining us on the show today. Let's start with a little round of introductions. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you've been working on. Daniel, let's start with you. 

Daniel [00:01:31] I am an architect in New York City. Steven and I have been business partners for about 30 years. We operate an architecture studio and interior design studio. 

Steven [00:01:42] As Dan said, we go back to college. We were roommates way back in the early 80s, I guess, sorry to tell my age, but we've been working in New York City primarily but we also follow our clients around the US and in Europe. We're currently working with existing and new clients on how they plan their office space with employees coming back to work. But I want to bring to your attention, we just finished a very high-end restaurant Le Pavillon that just opened at one Vanderbilt. So not only do we do office space and building renovations, but we do lots of restaurants, just creative force for us, so. 

Gemma [00:02:18] Amazing. That's super exciting. Congratulations. 

Steven [00:02:20] Yeah, well, you know, it's good because it’s the first midtown restaurant to open up, it's sort of welcoming New York back. 

Daniel [00:02:26] Yeah. And it was the first day that New York was officially open for business. So the timing was perfect. 

Gemma [00:02:33] Well, we're definitely going to get into opening back up and the work that you both have been doing over the last year and looking into the future. But let's actually begin with looking back a little bit and talking a little bit about, I guess, the traditional office setting, you know. Tell us a little bit about how that came to be and I guess what the features were that companies sought out up until recently? 

Daniel [00:02:56] Well, we've spent a decade or more densifying office environments in a quest for spatial efficiency. The more employees you could get into a space, the better for management. And a lot of people bought into that. The benching style of working close with your colleagues and collaborating in an open workspace was very popular. It came to an end with the pandemic. That was an emphasis and we're questioning it now. 

Steven [00:03:27] The big feature of the traditional office was the push towards the open office environment of less private offices, small working spaces, I.T., open lounge cafés. And these office workers, using these types of spaces, the experience has been less than ideal. They are noisy and lack privacy. Open spaces were intended to accommodate a very, very different style of work, which was more in line with production line and processing of information that does not work for the modern knowledge economy. 

Daniel [00:03:57] When you look back at that history and you think about how this is a transition time, we're pivoting to something new. And so much of what we've done in the past seems to be in need of rethinking. 

Gemma [00:04:12] That was going to be my question was obviously things are having to change. You talked about densification. Things are having to change because we just simply can't have as many people so close to each other and possibly even as we move forward with more similar related whatever kind of public health crisis. But also to Stephen's point about that workers perhaps not actually liking these kind of set ups and certainly I think that has been a big part of this discussion in recent years about how open plan doesn't work for many different kinds of people, not just in terms of different, I don't know, how introverted you are or perhaps where you sit on the autistic spectrum, but also just from a cultural perspective or how you feel and how happy you are. So can you tell us a little bit about those sort of dual shifts, one that perhaps has come as a result of a pandemic and one that's come as a result of culture? Is the pandemic one kind of just accelerating that shift that was maybe going to happen anyway? 

Daniel [00:05:07] Well, we've been talking to a lot of people and clients about this. It's a very deep subject. I think just to touch on the surface of it, as we said before, a lot of things are in need of rethinking. There is no one size fits all. To summarize it, we think that flexibility is a really key component as we go forward. Spaces have to be much more dynamic. They have to serve the people who are in them, and it has to work for the individual to do heads down work. It has to work for the group to collaborate. It has to work for people who are there, who are not there, and different people on different days doing different things. And the traditional office wasn't set up for that. 

Steven [00:05:50] Just add to what Dan is saying we redesign the strategy and two things we put together as follows. We have a dynamic workspace that integrates flexible design, that creates more areas for sharing space, which includes assigned workstations, hot desking collaboration zones and head down work while still accommodating all the employees. The other concept is a pod-based workspace which embraces the hybrid office, which we think is going to be the new office layout and this pod-based workstation shifts the typical office workstation zone inwards to create neighborhoods for team use. Each pod includes areas for different tasks, requiring throughout the typical day and can be reserved by team leaders on their teams and office day. So as groups come in two days a week, three days a week, they get assigned to these pods and can use them. 

Gemma [00:06:43] In terms of this concept or at least shift of mindset or strategy that it sounds like you guys have, is this something that's already happening? You know what's going on right now where companies looking to do these redesigns right now or are they only just starting to think about it? Are they even just pondering leases right now? And what sort of stage are we at? We've obviously got these, as you say, these new kind of strategies that could be the future of the office, but where are we in 2021?

Daniel [00:07:08] Well, it's happening. It depends a lot on where people are in their lease cycle. If your lease is up and you're moving, of course, this is a very big part of the conversation. If you've got eight more years on lease, you want to make some changes. But it's a different kind of conversation. And there's a bit of a push and pull between management's need to operate a business and the employees need to do their work. And a lot of us have been at home and we've developed different routines for work. So I'm not sure we know the answer, but we are active pursuing many different strategies for how to deal with it. 

Gemma [00:07:48] Let's jump on that point, actually, because I would love to hear a bit more about you mentioned remote, right? So how is that impacting this design as well? And also the stage, that we're at. People have shifted the way that they've worked, but I'm sure there's now habits that people have, things that they like, things that they don't like. So when you're designing office spaces that, as you say, have this inherent flexibility in it that have both a sort of technological and social component that makes them innovative and makes a mark. Tell us a bit more about that detail. How do you incorporate this new way of working that a lot of people have just had to embrace? It does have some positives with how you design these spaces, almost remote by design, shall we say, are partially removed by design. 

Daniel [00:08:33] We focus on what people need. If you try to humanize the space so that it works for the person and for the group and for the company, they might be at home sometimes, but when they're in the office, it needs to work for them. It needs to satisfy all of the things that they get when they're at home. At home, they might get privacy, heads-down work, flexibility. Of course, they don't have to commute. There are many good things about being at home. But in the office, it's a social environment. You can collaborate a little more easily than you can on a computer platform. And it's a really good thing for building energy, getting people together to work on a creative project to get that flow of ideas. 

Steven [00:09:17] I just want to add to that: the collaboration and creative work is highly dynamic and it's best done in an office environment. When a group can brainstorm, can sketch, can do pinups or discuss strategic business planning. But you also need separate spaces to work independently. So highly effective collaborative spaces consider both demands and find ways to reduce barriers to allow collaborative efforts to evolve organically. Virtual collaboration can be really, really difficult when a coworker is isolated or doesn't have the right technology. So I think technology is a real important part of how these both hybrid conditions work together. 

Gemma [00:09:55] But what does that look in practice? I mean, as it is about putting walls up and making more different zones? Is it about putting different electric sends, have better Wi-Fi? Tell me, what does it actually look like in practice? What's different between the design of before and the design of now? 

Daniel [00:10:08] We need to think of space as not occupancy based, but activity based. And the space is not about who's in a seat or spot or an office, but it's what happens in that space. And if we design the space for what's going to happen and we consider the entire dynamic range and we build it, so it's flexible enough to meet all of those requirements for all the people, whoever they are, whenever they are, that's a whole different way of approaching space. It's not permanent. It's not inflexible. It's dynamic. 

Steven [00:10:44] Well, space also shapes the way people connect not only with each other, but also the mission of the business. Right. In large organizations, people may feel disconnected from other employees because they are tucked away in their department. They don't see how their efforts are interconnected and collectively create value. Well-designed spaces will make different teams connected and accountable to each other and collectively contribute to a sense of community in the firm's goals. So I think well-designed space is the answer to that and understanding our client's needs, whether it's more remote workers, less remote workers, is how we design the space to satisfy those needs. Another example is interchangeable functions. Right? You can have circulation space that can also have seating and counters where coworkers can meet and work together. It's just not a hallway. It's a place for conversation. Before you go back to your neighborhood. Reception areas, right, with movable conference room walls and flexible tables, chairs can be a place for a large company meeting or a cocktail gathering at night. We're designing lots of wellness spaces and they're interchangeable also, whether it's a small conference room. I mean, we have mother's rooms these days on every client, every project, and also fitness and yoga spaces. So as Dan's saying flexibility, I think is an important part. 

Daniel [00:12:05] Yeah, I think flexibility, wellness, technology, these are themes that we're not letting go of. And I think people are going to demand more of all. 

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Gemma [00:12:44] So talking about the technology in the space, what does that sort of look like? Are we talking this kind of future vision where there's screens everywhere and everyone's using touch to access every room and being able to pull out drawings from one meeting to the other? Well, what does that actually look like? What would be the sort of key technologies in the space? And perhaps how are the employees, I guess, experiencing this technology enhanced workplace of the future? 

Daniel [00:13:12] We think we're on the verge of a technical revolution in the office. We've used a lot of technology in this past year to be able to function. When we left the office a year ago, we did it overnight. We all left the office one day and we just went home sort of like we bugged out of our offices. And the next day we were working. We just turned on teams. It was always there, but we had never used it. And the whole company went on teams and we just started working. And we've added technology ever since. It's seamless. It works. There was a lesson learned there and that lesson is not going away and it's becoming embedded in everything we do. And when you think back to the years before the majority of conference rooms we went into where we would try to just hook up to the room and to bring someone in from outside. The majority of the times, it didn't work. 

Gemma [00:14:14] A nightmare. 

Daniel [00:14:15] That is no longer acceptable. So that right there tells you the landscape has changed. And as for the technology, I think it will be much more robust. But also it has to be simpler to use. And I think people will demand it the same way we can make a presentation using Microsoft teams. Everybody can do it. And I'm quite impressed with our young creative people, how much they've gotten out of these video platforms as a presentation medium. And if you think of that as the tip of the iceberg. But I think that it is very dynamic in terms of people being outside the office, inside the office, connecting in real time and being able to vision and work together. 

Steven [00:15:05] Well, I also think the technology is going to play a much, much bigger role, as you stated. Workers are highly mobile and their work can be done anywhere. Therefore, digital connections, cloud based devices and secure networks. I mean, that's another important thing we haven't talked about much, but you've got to have a secure network. Various arrangements with whiteboards, movable furniture, fixed and movable monitors can be pushed around quickly to deal with the expected blend of remote and office workers. And then we need upgraded sensors and controls for efficient HVAC and lighting. That's another thing we didn't touch on. But you know, the office environment, lighting, HVAC, fresh air, sustainable materials, has been a topic for many years, but it's going to be a bigger topic down the road. 

Gemma [00:15:52] Is this the sort of thing that can be, I guess, retrofitted into existing buildings, or is some of this a kind of brand new build or huge tear out? I'm thinking for people who are listening who might be thinking, you know what, yeah, we really need to rethink what our office looks like. And as you say, think about it from this activity based and meet the demand of workers right now and in the future. Is this quite a scary prospect? I'm going to have to completely redesign or redo my whole set up, or do you think there are perhaps smaller or more modular things that can be done right away? 

Daniel [00:16:24] There are modular approaches. We've done some I think it will be more common. I think, building owners and landlords also are making changes. I think tenants are making changes. And people generally now recognize that the quality of the air you breathe in the office is important. And that was old-fashioned to just go to an office and not think about that. The quality of lighting, the acoustics, of air. So a lot of what we did before was a bit old-fashioned. And now it's a more challenging environment to think about these things, to design them to the best practice and to have an enlightened approach to wellness and make the office a pleasant place to be. People have to want to be there. 

Steven [00:17:10] To add to Dan's comments on existing space that wants to upgrade their HVC and lighting. It can be expensive and I think there's retrofits that are going to go in place. On these two new projects I'm starting, first of all, the fragrance lab. We have 10 air changes an hour in the lab. There's fresh air in there all the time. So odors from lab technician mixing all kinds of elements doesn't escape and come into the general office space. Generally, the office space is sort of three air changes an hour. So we can increase fresher air to come into space. The showroom project we have, our client wants to utilize all the space for showrooms, not mechanical rooms. We have 90 tons of air conditioning going into this space, which is probably seven, eight, nine hundred square feet of mechanical rooms. So we had an engineer in place and we're talking about this VRF units that are smaller and you have a main condenser outside and you pipe all the coolant in, but there's eight, 10, 15 smaller VRF units that are in the ceiling. So you're not using floor area. You're getting the proper air conditioning. You have lots of control over it. It's more expensive. But I think that both of these companies signed 15-year leases. So the investment at this point makes a lot of sense. 

Gemma [00:18:31] Given as well how costly technology can be then. And perhaps not all companies are going to need something so advanced as a fragrance lab that needs lots of air changes and maybe they just want some sensors or whatever to help with their keeping their energy bills low or making sure that they can have good working screens in every place that they want to have a meeting. Before there was a huge I guess boom which whether or not it's, shall we say, imploded or not, is by the by but in coworking spaces and shared offices and all this sort of thing. Where do you think that sort of trend is going? Because I think one of the pros of these kind of spaces is that it was cheaper for companies to be able to get these beautifully designed spaces, with the good technology with the management already built and all that sort of thing. But of course, the idea of using shared spaces now, of course, kind of has changed a little. What are your views on that? 

Daniel [00:19:24] Well, the coworking spaces are very interesting for many reasons, but I guess I'd like to cover two that I think respond to what you asked. One is the hospitality nature of an office. If it's designed to work the way a hospitality space or a hotel does. That's very conducive to many of the activities that occur in an office. And the other is about the technology. Companies need a great technology. That's going to be a need, but they don't have to necessarily invest in every bit of themselves. We're doing amenity centers in several commercial office buildings now and they're very popular. And the value of these spaces is that you can have very sophisticated technology in a room or on a suite or amenity center that you maybe don't have upstairs in your office. But if you only need it occasionally, you go downstairs and you have much more robust technology. You can also use that space for cooking classes, for pantries, for fitness studios, for yoga, for continuing education. If it's attached to an outdoor space, you can do so many more events. And again, it goes back to this concept of hospitality, of hotels. That's a good way to handle the technology that you don't have to invest in every bit of it for yourself because it's costly. But amenity centers might be a solution and it serves both the tenant and the landlord and we're seeing interest in it. 

Gemma [00:20:57] So I want to dive a little bit more into the word community, because this has come up quite a lot in this interview, both in terms of what you're saying here around cooking classes and doing different kind of events. Also wellness, yoga classes and all that and bringing that sort of that real social side into the office. And Stephen, you also mentioned neighborhoods and pods and this idea of going and working with some people and then going back to your neighborhoods and working with others. I wondered if you could both talk about how you maintain a sense of community for companies and how you sort of emphasize culture in a physical workspace, bearing in mind that, of course, if we're going to have flexible spaces, there might be some remote people, some really remote people, some 100 percent physical people and some people who like to do a little bit of both. So how can companies go about thinking about, I guess, community by design when it comes to their, their physical spaces. 

Daniel [00:21:47] It's important to us when we're working with a client that we understand their culture and that we custom design an environment that suits their culture. And if it's done right, it only works for them. It doesn't work for another company or group. And that's the idealized goal that we seek. There's a lot of ways we do it and things we do. 

Steven [00:22:07] You're right. I mean, the services that we provided for the last 30, 35 years haven't changed that much. We have visioning. We have programming. We then go into design. We then go into construction documents with engineering and then CA. Monitor the contractor and get the thing built. So a lot of that is the same. The key is and it's always been this way for me because I'm a stickler for programing and understand a client's needs is we're excited about satisfying these client's needs in this new returning to the office transition period. We implement these new design strategies that reflect the changing business environment and set the stage for how people want to work in the near future. Many people have gotten used to life without time consuming commutes and spending more time outside. This work-life balance, which I think everybody loves these days, offers flexibility for employers and I think is the opportunity to transform and redefine all these workplaces. 

Gemma [00:23:07] You mentioned, Dan, about this, you know, you want to understand the culture of the client and then you design. I guess, I've called it community by design. That's probably not the real term for it. But you do that based on what you learned about your client in those early stages of working. Could you maybe give some examples from previous clients that you've had of how you've been able to build with community mind, based on the culture that learned about? You don't need to use names, of course, if you're not willing to share, but would be great to get some concrete examples of what that might look like in practice. 

Daniel [00:23:38] Sure. Before we were very interested in branding spaces so they represent the company. And so the space was dynamic and engaged people. Food and day care and other services for the employee. So that we could give them space where they would want to be for longer periods of time. And people were very comfortable coming and staying long enough to have three meals a day in a space. And it was work. It was also social. I don't think that'll go away. I think we'll add to it the flexibility we need. We will add to it the technology we need, and we'll be much more thoughtful about wellness and the future. We also might, it's counter to that, but we might also be thinking about flexibility to be more short term. The spaces will not be static. We won't build something and expect it to be the same for a decade. That something will change much more often and change the dynamic aspect of that will be more common. And I think we have to design for that. 

Steven [00:24:48] Yeah, I think the social part of coming to work is very important, not only in your office but in your street neighborhood. We're looking on Twenty Ninth Street and Madison Avenue and I go in on a regular basis. There's not one restaurant open for lunch. And as those things change, I think you'll see more people coming in because they want to be social. We did a project downtown for one of the largest digital advertising firms in the country, Dentsu, and they took the four floors. Each floor had a social area with a bar and game rooms and basketball. I became friends with them. I go down to five o'clock and have a beer with them. And then they go back to work. I think that's not going to happen anymore. I think keeping people in the office for 10, 12, 15 hours a day and feeding them and making social activities is going to change. So I think it's going to be less of that and more about sharing your experiences from remote workers and the workers that come in every day. 

Gemma [00:25:49] I'm glad you re-brought up that point, Stephen, about keeping people in the office for a long time, because I was almost brisling when I was hearing you say that, you know, you're making these great spaces that people want to stay in for twelve hours. And I'm thinking, really? Is that really what this is all about, getting people to stay working and be productive? Surely not. So when you say that there's been a shift and that's not really what's going to happen, maybe that's because we've had culture shifts, maybe because people have realized that that's not what it's all about. What role then, does the physical office play moving forward? Is it a place to come because it has the amenities that you need, a hub for meetings and collaboration, for particular tasks that do really require, are enhanced by people. A place where you can go with your uninterrupted by your kids in the background. You know, how do you sort of envision the role of the physical office then? 

Steven [00:26:37] I think all those things are important aspects, that people are not going to come back to the office as much as they did before. I think it's a destination space to come in, if you have a construction meeting you're coming to and you need to come and print some shop drawings or come in and collaborate with a team member. You'll come into the office for a couple hours and then maybe head home after that and work from home. It's very, very flexible and I think we'll continue that way. 

Daniel [00:27:03] There has to be a reason to go to an office. I think the pandemic has shown us all that. The positive side is the office has a purpose and the other side is there has to be a reason to go. So Steven pointed out many and every company is different and every group or community is different. But we're responding to those needs and making the office a destination of choice. And that, I think, will meet the needs of the most people. 

Gemma [00:27:33] One of the things I've touched on before and a couple of episodes when we've been discussing offices and coming back to work and all that sort of thing, you used this term destination too which ties into it is particularly large companies, multinational corporates. Their headquarters are an advert as much as a workspace, right? So welcoming clients and new employees, wowing them with all of their, you know, the ice cream trolley that comes around or the amazing sushi bar or the pool or whatever it is, or the mini golf course on the roof. And a lot of that is not just about the kind of how it's used, but it is also about, I guess, showcasing, you know, success of a company or attracting the best talent to come work. In some ways, it's the loss leader, shall we say, it's not necessarily the thing that's producing the money right off. It's more of an advert. Do you think that that is still a thing that companies are interested in when they're thinking particularly about their headquarters? Or, again, is it just, do you know what we just need to create something practical that our employees have a use for and we can advertise ourselves online or in other ways. 

Daniel [00:28:41] It's a blend. But that showcase space. But the showcase space, at least so far and the 12 or 14 months that we've been dealing with this pandemic, the showcase space has had less influence. And the greater concern has been for how to create an office that meets the needs of the group and the organization and and is a destination you would choose to come to. And what can we do to make that happen? 

Steven [00:29:10] Well, I can give you a real example on the fragrance company we're working on. They're all about fashion and fragrance and technology. So when you walk into their office, you see their lab. They have robots in the lab now. It's come that far where technicians are replaced. A perfumer can be uptown. You can type in six or seven ingredients of some creative fragrance and the robot pops it out. So that's something they want to show off to their clients. They also have a lot of visiting offices. When someone comes from out of town or from Europe and needs a space to plug in and work, we've reserved a bunch of those kind of spaces. So I think each industry will be a bit different and depends on the character of the owners of these companies. Some are used to spending lots of money on fancy wood and stone floors. And I think that's still going to happen because that's their character. But I think there'll be less of it. It's got to be practical and it has to work for their business that showcases what they do, not impress their clients. 

Gemma [00:30:20] For those who are listening, who are hearing what you're saying and thinking, gosh, yeah, this this is what we need to do. We need to, I hadn't even thought about this or maybe is we in the back of my mind, whether they're a leader or a company or a manager, what would you, I guess, be your maybe simple tips, top tips, the people who have those sort of decision making powers and companies to rethink how they are using the space as they start to welcome employees back. Whether that's enhancing it for community purposes, whether it's thinking about flexibility? What would you say would be some top tips to even just begin starting thinking about this in a way that that puts that either the office as a destination or this community by design at the forefront? 

Daniel [00:31:03] Well, we said destination before, and we've often thought that a lot of things have to be reinvented, reimagined. They have to be better. And the consensus view is that the office has to do more for people. It has to meet needs, all the traditional needs, plus the emerging needs. The ones that we're aware of and the ones that we're trying to prepare for. It's not crazy to expect another public health emergency. So how does physical space adapt itself? Be flexible and responsive. And I don't think enough people think about how to make a space resilient and if we can think about resiliency in our office environments, they are, I think by definition, more adaptive to people's needs. 

Gemma [00:31:56] One final question that I'd love to hear from both of you. What are you most excited about as you design what's next for office buildings? 

Daniel [00:31:04] I'm excited that everything has to change. A lot of stuff that is in the physical world is just a bit old and it's not by formula. And now it's got to be thought through. And I think there's a generational difference, too, about how twenty-five year olds see the workplace compared to 60 year olds. And power is shifting. And so I'm excited about all the change and trying to be in that and to be responsive to it. 

Steven [00:32:37] I would agree. There's other issues now that we're going to focus on things like acoustics, things like proper lighting in different areas, materials, and what is the feel and look of a space that transforms the company and their culture. It's again, diving very deep into programing and visioning and getting them to really explain what the feel and look and the functional aspect of their office is. And then go back and redesign that way with all these new elements that we have. 

Gemma [00:33:09] Amazing. Sounds like you've got a big task ahead of you both and hopefully lots of really great projects that feel like is a shift not just for your clients, but for you as a company as well. And always a good thing for creative industries to have these challenges to play with, shall we say. Dan. Steven, thank you so much for coming and sharing your expertise, your insights and your opinions with us here on the show today. 

Daniel [00:33:0431] Pleasure talking to you.

Steven [00:33:32] Gemma thanks, it was a pleasure and nice to meet you guys again. 

Gemma [00:33:37] That's it for this week. Thank you so much for tuning in. You can find out more about Daniel and Steven's work and indeed some of the broader themes we discussed today in the show notes. If you enjoyed the episode, please do take a few moments to rate and review the podcast. It really helps other people discover the show. And don't forget to hit subscribe. Tune in next time to continue our conversation about innovation, resilience, and our capacity to succeed. 

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