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HOK’s WorkPlace Group Releases Trend Report Focused on Tech Industry

LinkedIn Carpinteria

HOK has released the second volume of HOK Forward, its annual report exploring a crucial issue in workplace design.

HOK Forward: Tech Workplace Takes Center Stage investigates the distinct threats and challenges facing the tech sector and explores how these same challenges are affecting all companies, regardless of the industry in which they operate.

“Intense competition, readily available capital and open frontiers are challenging tech companies to continuously adapt and innovate,” said Kay Sargent, co-director of HOK’s WorkPlace practice. “Yet many of their workplaces were designed for a completely different era of work.”

The workplace report explores the myriad challenges and opportunities facing the tech sector, from the shrinking talent pool and evolving regulatory environment to privacy and data security and the growing exodus from Silicon Valley.

Also included are key takeaways from HOK’s recent global survey of corporate real estate executives that found:

  • 72% of portfolios is leased space.
  • 67% anticipate growth will be leased space; 8% envision coworking space as part of future growth strategy.
  • 47% expect to increase headcount in the coming year.
  • 59% have a formal distributed work program; 41% prefer employees to be on site.
  • 76% have a portion of portfolio with unassigned space, with the remaining 24% assigning staff to work points.
  • 82% monitor and track space utilization; only 13% use sensors with 56% tracing via badge-in or IT login and 30% via observation studies.

“We are quickly moving toward an era in which tech is not just a discrete sector but a foundational element in all businesses,” said Gordon Wright, co-director of HOK’s WorkPlace practice. “The findings from this report can—and must—be leveraged by our clients across all sectors to help ensure their continued success.”

Among the trends highlighted in HOK’s new report:

  • Evolving amenities: Companies looking to attract and retain top talent continue to develop amenity offerings, which can range from nap pods and wellness rooms to medical clinics and maker spaces.
  • Data and disruption: ‘Smart’ workspaces, replete with multiple sensors, will continue to increase. Designers and clients continue to learn how to leverage that data to optimize space. Yet they must balance this with a commitment to valuing humans over metrics.
  • Beyond open plan: One size does not fit all, and the right space solution for each tech company will depend on its culture, work style, mobility profiles and business goals. HOK explores the characteristics and considerations for options including Activity-Based Workplaces, Neighborhood-based Choice Environments (NCE), Agile Environments, Maker Environments for Mobile Occupants (MEMO) and Immersive Environments.

To provide additional value for its clients and readers, HOK concludes the report with a set of priority actions and 10 focus areas for future tech workplaces. Case studies of projects for leading technology firms LinkedIn,, OpenText and Cisco Systems provide insight into current best practices.

Download a PDF (6.5 MB) of HOK Forward: Tech Workplace Takes Center Stage

View more HOK publications.

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