Herman Miller CEO Visit: Twists to Trending Topics

Intereum Owner, Matt Sveen, introduces Brian Walker, Herman Miller CEO

The CEO of Herman Miller, Brian Walker visited with the Intereum team last Tuesday to talk about the future of real estate and business practices.  He shared with us the “Responding to the Givens” presentation he gave at a large real estate and facilities conference a couple weeks ago. Brian’s presentation touched on several topics, but there were a few hot issues that really stood out that morning. He stressed that while our use and view of the workplace may change, the need for a physical office still exists, and explained how increasingly important it will be to focus on every generation at work.

Brian Walker hypothesizes a unique answer to the increasingly popular question, “Do we need a physical office anymore?” This is a valid question, considering the increased mobility of technology and information. People no longer require as much separation between work and personal life (Walker calls this “compartmentalization”). They now have a choice of where to work, and often it is the most comfortable, convenient spot.

Brian Walker talks about making real estate work harder

So in order to keep the brain power in the office and keep information exchange among employees, the workplace must be more appealing than the other options, such as a Starbucks or home sofa. Walker suggests that instead of reducing real estate, we can “make it work harder”! Providing a variety of workspace types and sizes with varying privacy and collaboration levels allows employees to work in whichever style they prefer without leaving the campus. A space that promotes a happy, healthy workflow can help keep people within the office walls and available to foster the “transfer of knowledge”.

Brian Walker also surprised me with his fresh take on another trending topic: “Generations at Work”. He focuses not on the expected issue: difficulties presented with old versus new worker styles, wants and needs, but instead on the potential loss of valuable information and expertise when the number of retirees skyrockets in the next few years. So how do we make sure this knowledge gets to the next generation before that happens? By providing a social workplace! Making an office an inviting, unique community attracts the two generations to co-mingle and learn from each other.

Feel free to use the Comments box to further expand on these interesting questions and topics! If you would like more information on this blog or Herman Miller’s fresh take on the workplace, please contact us at betterwaystowork@intereum.com.

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