Las Vegas Sun

August 18, 2018

Currently: 99° — Complete forecast

5-MINUTE EXPERT:

Companies revamping office atmospheres to accommodate new age of workers

Image

Shutterstock.com

Las Vegas trends

A different kind of open office space is a regular part of the job for many of Las Vegas’ tens of thousands of casino employees. Entertainers, hotel staffers, security guards, cocktail servers, bartenders, housekeepers, food servers, porters, bellmen, cooks and other kitchen workers in the Valley regularly work on their feet, away from the sit-down office areas typical of more technology-based corporations in other major metropolitan cities. The same goes for marijuana employees in dispensaries, cultivation and production facilities, as well as testing labs, said workers at Silver Sage Wellness and Blüm dispensaries.

Most casinos in their corporate office spaces provide a traditional layout with cubicle walls and an individual desk area, according to employees from MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, Stations Casinos and Wynn Resorts properties.

The days of high cubicle walls, cramped quarters and private offices are on their way out, as millennials are demanding inviting, fun places to spend their workdays and find balance in their lives.

That’s according to several news articles from around the world, as well as local construction companies and architects who have seen the transformation first hand.

Mike Nigro, owner of Nigro Construction, has spent the past two decades designing and building office spaces. Nigro, 51, said not only do modern, open offices without walls and doors encourage collaboration and productive dialogue between co-workers, they’re actually cheaper to construct.

“When you build a lot of offices and walls, you need doors, you need HVAC going to the different spaces, and you need electrical wiring,” Nigro explained. “When you do a more open environment, you don’t need as much of that. So you can spend that extra money on the aesthetics of making the office look good.”

Popular trends for new office spaces include bright yet bold colors to stimulate employees’ minds and creativity, open seating to make communication easier, and extra amenities such as coffee machines and a lounging area for breaks. As most adults between 18 and 54 spend more than one-third of their lives working, the workspace should be designed as a place where employees can thrive, Nigro said.

“Ultimately, for millennials, you have to sell them a culture that’s enjoyable,” he said.

Modern setups

Of the thousands of businesses nationwide modernizing their office spaces, some of the larger, well-known companies are taking the lead. Here’s how they made their work space millennial-friendly:

Amazon

Located in the heart of Seattle, Amazon routinely hosts farmers markets on its massive 1.6 million-square-foot campus, and also invites outside food vendors for its more than 40,000 employees on site. Filled with bright-colored art and modern furniture in its common areas, Amazon invested $3.7 billion in the facility from 2010 to 2017.

Apple

The Cupertino, California-based company uses $1,800 custom-made leather chairs from Louis Vuitton in Apple Park, one the few public gathering areas in its new $5 billion headquarters.

Inside, employees work in ergonomic seats, shown at right, in large, open offices. Short walls separating one work desk from another rise just 18 inches up the desks, meaning almost everyone in the Apple work spaces can see and speak with one another.

Bank of George

Pets at work?

Perhaps one of the fastest-growing trends in U.S. workplaces is pets in the office space. Nine percent of U.S. employers now allow pets to come to work with their owners, according to the Society of Human Resource Management. That’s up from 7 percent in 2016 and 5 percent in 2010.

Major U.S. companies such as Google and Amazon allow pets full-time. The companies even provide dog biscuits at their reception desks for pooches of employees and visitors.

Nigro Construction built Bank of George’s two 8,000-square-foot branches, at 9115 W. Russell Road in Las Vegas and the Henderson location at 3275 St. Rose Parkway. With a sleek, modern design outside, the bank— founded in Las Vegas in 2007 and named after George Washington—provides open, cubicle-free office space for many of its 52 combined branch employees.

Facebook

With employees working side-by-side at computers placed on long tables, Facebook has the most open office atmosphere of any company listed in our guide. In one corner, the latest video game consoles and games rest next to a massive LED TV. In another, an open bar offers employees drinks of their choice at any hour of the day. Soda machines, bright art and fancy furniture line the company’s hallways.

Google

Pool tables, kitchens and soda machines are among the amenities available for Google’s 15,000 employees at its headquarters in Mountain Vista, California. Open office spaces with exposed ceilings give the headquarters, and many of its dozen offices around the world, an organic yet professional feel. Outside the Mountain Vista HQ, two swim-in-place pools are available for employees with a lifeguard’s supervision. Google employees are entitled to a company-subsidized massage as well as cheap haircuts.

Walmart

For people working in the retail giant’s headquarters in the company’s home state of Arkansas, cubicle walls have become fewer and fewer. Media reports say Walmart’s open atmosphere is getting closer to resembling that of similar-size businesses in Silicon Valley, and the company will merge many offices in a giant HQ in Bentonville, Arkansas, by 2024.

Zappos

Zappos has long been the Valley’s best-known company for utilizing new and modern office spaces. And for good reason—the Downtown Las Vegas business features an open floor plan with small cubicle walls less than 2 feet in height for most of its nearly 1,800 employees. The company on its website credits the floor plan, which features 300,000 “wacky and open” square feet of exposed ceilings and seemingly endless employee-placed decorations, with promoting efficiency, transparency, accessibility and increased engagement among employees. Having llamas, eating contests and space-themed outdoor meeting places doesn’t hurt, either.