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GenslerOnWork examines the modern workplace and how design can help us become more engaged and productive as we earn our livings.

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Gensler Atlanta’s Office Expansion: A Co-Creating Environment for Our Clients

Gensler Atlanta’s office. Photo @ Nigel Marson Photography.

When we started thinking about our expansion space for Gensler Atlanta’s office last May, we wanted to build an environment that would continue to inspire a creative culture, where each individual’s ingenuity can be unleashed and turned into works of collective genius. Ultimately, we wanted to create an explorative environment for our staff, where our clients could come to co-create—a place where we could try new behaviors, gather feedback, and implement our own research findings to create a better workplace.

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How Environmental Graphics Can Inspire Culture and Creativity in the Workplace

LinkedIn’s Silicon Valley headquarters. Image © Jasper Sanidad.

We live in a time when the creative economy reigns supreme and most organizations view “creativity” as the most valued currency. We are seeing companies like Airbnb and Twitter led by creatives, and not just business grads. Companies are paying a premium to attract and retain employees who are smart and imaginative. The big question is, once you secure outstanding talent, how do you keep the creative juices flowing and help employees feel more connected to their company’s culture? Beyond wellness programs, transportation services, catered food & beverage, and other amenities, companies are creating enriching experiences and deeper engagement with employees as soon as they physically step into the office through unique brand touchpoints, called environmental graphics.

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Beyond 50 Shades of 'Greige': Seven Ideas to Create an Inspiring Workplace

Image © Eric Laignel (at left) and Image © Garrett Rowland (at right)

Gray and beige are two colors I see most often in many of today’s workplaces. I’m not the only one, either. A client at an advertising firm recently described their office as “kind of greige.” Yuck. It’s no surprise these bland workspaces are often empty or distinguished by staff struggling to find the right spaces to meet and concentrate.

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Design as an Innovation Super Power

Image © Gensler

An overused word and an underexplored practice.

The word innovation continues to get thrown around. For the past decade at least, innovation has been a catch-all for that special sauce that gets companies to act first on the newest technologies and market opportunities. It’s considered the key to yet another buzzword: disruption. With the rules of startup culture in mind, businesses from big pharma to evolving finance have treated innovation as something they should aspire to. We find that when organizations particularly tell us they want to innovate, they usually mean they want design to be the hero by transforming their space. At first, they believe that their teams of experts will find a magic bullet inside war rooms, creative labs and collaboration spaces. But therein lies the gap: the expectation that innovation only comes about as a result of the right kind of space when there is so much more to it.

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"Treat Us Like a Client": The Power of Design, From a Non-Designer

Gensler La Crosse. Image © Gensler.

A little over a year ago, our office lease was nearing its end and we were faced with a decision—do we extend our lease and stay in our current space or do we relocate? At face value, this seems like a simple question to answer. However, we quickly learned that answering this question is neither simple nor easy. As we embarked on the journey to answer this one question, we learned a lot about ourselves and the power of design in the workplace.

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