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« Media’s Adaptive Shift: Converged Environments | Main | Tech Trends of 2016: Engaging Through Art »

Tech Trends of 2016: Leaving a Local Fingerprint

Image © Gensler

Editor’s note: this blog is part of a series on 2016 tech trends.

Tech companies are making a conscious effort to create more personal and meaningful ties to the communities they serve, are a part of, and recruit from. For many companies, the focus has shifted from their global ‘footprint’ to their local ‘fingerprint’ (the specific impacts that can be made within their own communities) proving that, when aligned in the right way, business and community aren’t mutually exclusive.

By connecting at the local level, tech companies are creating a sense of community through shared experiences and shared spaces. Image © Gensler.

Over the last decade, there has been significant growth in corporate social responsibility. Whatever the motivation—customer engagement, employee engagement, brand differentiation, profit or simply altruistic intent—companies see the value in doing good deeds. But the focus for many companies has increasingly turned to engagement at the local level.

The local movement isn’t a new concept, but increasingly, it is resonating with tech companies and their employees because it provides the types of connections people are seeking. In today’s rapidly changing world, many feel a sense of disconnection and isolation. Things like mass urbanization (millions of people choosing to live in cities) and never ending virtual interactions (2.6 billion emails sent per day world-wide, 300 million Facebook photos uploaded per day, 350,000 new tweets per minute) are factors that contribute to our desire to make real, meaningful connections, often through local communities, art, food and music.

At Adobe’s San Jose headquarters, a local artist was enlisted to create the company’s iconic ‘A’ using locally sourced fruit crates as a nod to the City’s agricultural history. Image © Gensler.

According to the America’s Charities 2015 Snapshot study, 86 percent of companies believe that employees expect them to provide opportunities to engage in the community. And, according to Gensler’s 2016 U.S. Workplace Survey, finding meaning and purpose in the workplace is important across all generations.

Tech companies are responding through increased investment in well-being, social responsibility and communities. By connecting at the local level, tech companies are creating a sense of community through shared experiences and shared spaces that translates to the workplace. Local artists, makers and businesses can provide unique insights into their communities and the impact of investing in them can be felt more significantly. The result? Tech companies are simultaneously enhancing a reputation of generosity, retaining employees and attracting new talent.

Natalie Engels re-imagines the workplace experience. A design director and regional leader of Gensler’s Technology practice, Natalie teams with clients to improve their business by designing for the workforce of the future; helping to attract and keep the next generation of employees. Contact her at natalie_engels@gensler.com.
Kristin Quiroz Bayona helps shine a light on the amazing people and projects in San Jose, California. A PR and Marketing Specialist, she crafts compelling content on the latest in workplace design. Contact her at kristin_quirozbayona@gensler.com.