Workplace Benchmarks for Success

By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer & Co-Founder

Savvy business owners know when something’s not working. Problems become apparent on profit-and-loss statements and balance sheets—and demand immediate attention. But finding the right solution can be overwhelming. Who do you listen to? What’s the cause of your problems? Where do you begin?

Understanding how business went from A to Z requires data and a clear view of what it tells you about what’s affecting the bottom line. To do so, it’s time to start from the beginning by determining where business goals were initially set, collecting data along the path from there to where you are, and then analyzing ups and downs. It’s called benchmarking and the process is crucial to draw a true picture of your business successes and failures.

Benchmarking helps create strategic plans for enduring success. Collected data and the resulting analytics allow decision makers to:

  1. Identify best practices and eliminate bad habits
  2. Improve facilities staffing and management
  3. Measure, understand, and improve efficiencies
  4. Quantify and justify costs
  5. Support maintenance reports and plans
  6. Reinforce the case for change

You might want to look to an outwardly successful organization to determine what metrics to use for data collection, but it’s not something you can borrow. Benchmarking metrics need to be specific to your business size, type, and your leadership team’s prioritized goals. For instance, a startup and a company in consolidation mode will have different metrics for success. However, where to find this data will be similar across company sizes and industries.

Most data collection will relate to your company’s facilities, as the workplace is a business’s No. 1 fixed cost. You’re not simply looking at rent or purchase price, but how that cost projects onto each employee and how well you manage and use your current space. The space where your teams work has a substantial impact on the productivity as it relates to what you’re spending on that space.

Data collection should begin with the workplace cost per employee: add the cost of all inputs—real estate, furniture, utilities, maintenance, etc—and divide by number of employees. That gives you a break-even number per employee. If the figure is below revenue, it’s safe to assume you have a facilities problem. But what problem?

You may be paying below-market value on physical space. Benchmark analytics can help determine why you’re not breaking even or exceeding workplace cost per employee. Using a Workplace Net Promoter Score (NPS), a survey that’s often used to gauge customer satisfaction but here looks inward to employees, will engage your team in making sure their workplace works for them. Scored on a scale of 1-5, these surveys can ask any number and types of questions about employees’ work as it relates to the workplace (and can be used as a model for other engagement surveys).

Responses to the following questions will, when considered together, illustrate how well your facility performs:

  • What is the proximity to colleagues they meet or work with regularly?
  • How of common or private meeting spaces that promote teamwork?
  • Are office amenities are robust and reliable?
  • How accessible is the workplace by car or transportation?
  • Do employees work off-site or remotely?
  • What is their overall satisfaction with the facility resources provided?

These questions, which should be tailored to your company’s specific needs and organizational layout, will highlight pain points within the workplace.

In addition to tracking workplace cost per employee, it’s important to know square footage allocated to each worker. This helps determine the ratio of communal spaces—conference rooms, lounges, open meeting areas—to employees using them. Alone or combined with other metrics, this data can help determine whether your office needs the current level of communal space or if this is why meeting areas are difficult to secure. Similarly, looking at your space occupancy (not to be confused with utilization) will highlight how many workspaces are available based on the number of people using or assigned to them.

But these metrics don’t show how well workspaces are utilized. This is where technology—NPS tech, sensors, beacons, etc.—can track space utilization in real-time. Are cramped work areas causing employee friction? Is service quality suffering due to lack of space? Such information helps prioritize where to focus resources and budget.

Your overall real estate ROI, as well as the agility of it, are key metrics that can help drive down cost and increase productivity. Determining whether your real estate portfolio is a burden or whether it’s agile enough to keep up with your company’s real-time demands will indicate whether it’s space you should hold on to, improve upon, or swap for something better suited for your goals.

Answers won’t appear overnight, nor can you study results in a silo. The above metrics, as well as others that address company goals, should be considered together when deciding on changes or improvements to productivity and employee satisfaction. Through ongoing study of performance metrics, you’ll make better hiring, investment, and management decisions. Answers will change, which is why using technology to regularly monitor your benchmarks for success is the most important investment you can make as a company.


Remote Working Trends and Options: Eliminating Desks

By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer

Imagine this scenario: You wake up, there’s two feet of snow on the ground, and an email says the office is still open. Do you pull on your boots and trek into the office or do you opt to work remotely for the morning until the sidewalks are shoveled? Given the option, most would choose the latter.

Many companies now offer work-from-home or remote-working options. They’ve realized the cost of requiring every employee to work from the office five days a week outweighs the benefits. Aside from the convenience off-site work offers—flexibility to fit in a doctor’s appointment or pick up a sick child from school—employers save money because they no longer need to provide a desk or seat for every employee.

But reducing seats does create one problem businesses are just learning how to solve: how do you decide who gets a seat? First-come-first-served? That’d create chaos and animosity. And imagine making the commute to find no available seat? You’d be livid.

The solution of several companies is a method long-used by accounting firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte: hot-desking. Companies use a website or app with a blueprint of their office and numbered workspaces. Employees can log on and reserve a desk for a few hours or up to a week, depending on the company’s policy. Even though requesting desks or a workspace is on a first-come-first-served basis, it does remove the problem of arriving to the office with no place to sit.

Where’s My Stuff?

Reservation systems are nothing new. Employees use them to reserve conference or communal spaces for meetings and events. Now it’s trickling down to individual spaces via hot-desking. But with any new office program or policy, hot-desking isn’t without its challenges.

The most apparent concern: Where do employees put their stuff? Luckily, offices are using less paper, which means fewer files and lugging stacks of paper to and from the office each day. Some businesses carve out office space for lockers or carts where people can keep items they want in the office. As far as personal items go, studies show that clutter free desk spaces lead to an increase in productivity. So mugs, photos, and that mini lava lamp are gone.

Another issue is the instability of location and employees sitting next to someone they don’t work well with. Office politics are a reality regardless of seating. The simple solution to workplace instability or inconsistency is reserving a preferred for as long as policy allows. But change can be a good thing for productivity and creativity. Hot-desking can reduce stagnation.

On The Move

It seems nearly everyone works on a laptop. Mobility is made easier with cloud storage, external monitors, and cell phones replacing landlines. So, the cost is low to adopt hot-desking. Costlier tech purchases, like projectors and conference speakers, can be reserved for common spaces and phone booths. Employees equipped with a mobile computer are free to work anywhere.

While some say remote work isolates teams, hot-desking—also called in-office remote work— promotes a strong company culture and social dynamic. By creating daily interaction opportunities with new teammates or departments, employee satisfaction and engagement rise. You’re not just interacting with new people, but learning their habits or discipline that may affect how you work on your own.

To complement hot-desking, businesses are also adding activity-based workspaces. Think relaxation spaces, communal areas with couches, phone booths for private calls, and group meeting rooms. These combined styles utilize office space better and balance the needs of each project and team. This is especially popular given that the majority of the workforce is Millennials, who rank flexibility high on their list of needs. The different spaces and options assume employees will seek out a range of spaces to undertake different tasks and adapt to those assumptions.

Not For Everyone

Everyone on your team may not embrace flexibly; their jobs just don’t accommodate it. But creative departments, consultants, and executives who spend their days in on-site and remote meetings are the ideal hot-desking candidates. Given the range of employees across the company hierarchy, the option also breaks down barriers between executives and entry-level employees, encourages networking, and boosts collaboration.

Hot-desking and activity-based workspaces can save money, increase productivity,  stimulate creativity, and promote cross-learning. There will always be challenges, but the benefits will outweigh them, and quickly. Read next, what’s the future of remote working?


Employee Security Badges – Necessary Tools or Invasions of Privacy?

By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer & Co-Founder

Employee security badges and apps are important and helpful. Here’s why. Almost daily, headlines of security breaches at big tech, financial, and, even, hotel companies make front page news. Over the past two years, our personal security has been called into question. We learned that Facebook compromised user data with its third-party apps and that hacks on Equifax and Marriott compromised the data of 147.7 million and 500 million people, respectively. At the same time, both hackers and employers are benefiting from health and fitness data tracked through apps and wearables.

Naturally, people are wary of putting themselves at risk by disclosing personal information on new platforms. Individuals are using VPNs on personal devices and two-factor authentication for app and website logins. So why would someone want to give their employer location access on their phone or use a badge equipped with similar location-tracking sensors? More than ever, business’s security badges and apps are called into question. But we’re here to explain why this access is important and how businesses can keep their employees safe.

For decades, employees have used security badges to enter and leave office buildings, operate elevators, and access restricted floors or rooms. What’s changed is the technology these powerful badges hold—or if a badge is even needed. To an employee, access is one of the most obvious functions of a security badge. However, the information that badge provides to either security or facilities managers may be its most important function. Even in their most low-tech form, badges contains a unique key assigned to an individual. So, in the case of an emergency, it’s easy to determine which employees are in the building and who’s already signed out. In these emergencies, even the most primitive form of location tracking is welcome if it’s the difference between life and death.

Badges do come at a tangible cost. They’re frequently lost or former employees fail to return them before leaving the company. They can be cracked or forgotten at home, in a bag, or in a jacket pocket. It’s why many companies are replacing separate security badges with smartphone-based access credentials. These credentials, which are accessed through an app, provide the same access as a badge but are more robust, especially when it comes to location services.

Smartphone access credentials tells security and managers who’s in the office in case of an emergency, plus precisely where they are. This particular functionality is where some employees feel a line is being crossed, though the Find My Phone service popular with smartphone users is essentially the same technology. Their concern is not unfounded; it’s possible for management or security to abuse this access or use it as a disciplinary tool. For instance, if a manager can quickly locate an employee and see they’re not at their desk, they might use that information in a formal review without knowing the circumstances. Implementation of an employee access app, as with any new technology, requires a clear conversation about its uses as well as reaffirming trust of managers in their teams.

While there are justifiable concerns as to who has access to location information, smartphone access credentials increase safety and facilitate smoother work days. Apps can hold data such as medical conditions and emergency contacts in case an employee is unable to provide the information. By asking employees to use their phones as access badges, it’s less likely unwanted guests can enter the facility. A badge is easier to lend someone than a personal phone, which holds more value. Similarly, unlike a badge, most phones enable two-factor authentication and an access app can add another layer of protection before opening.

The location services that are part of these apps also allow employees to locate colleagues, which is especially helpful in an office that uses hotel or hot-desking. The app can also be integrated into hot-desk services, so an employee can reserve desk space or a meeting room, or inform colleagues that they’re working from home or in an open lounge area.

As workplaces become smarter, more integrations and upgrades to tried-and-true technology will become apparent. But putting everything online or using GPS tracking is not as sinister as Big Brother theorists want us to think. This technology, while not foolproof, is being developed with the security and safety of valued employees in mind—not to monitor their every step.


Office Workplace Design Provides A Foundation For Success

By Noam Livnat
Chief Product & Innovation Officer

Optimal office workplace design provides a foundation for success. Buildings are more than walls, floors and a ceiling; more than the objects and people that inhabit them. They’re spaces that have significant impact on culture, discourse, and behavior. Their design directly affects how those inhabiting them operate. It’s likely why Winston Churchill once stated: “we shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us.” Buildings are alive—and they have a lot to teach us.

As business owners and operators, we spend a significant portion of our time considering office space. Usually, it’s from a logistical and cost standpoint, not an abstract concept of what we can reap from a building or office. In evaluating new office space or its design, our ideas are rational and concrete, devoid of the personality we wish to create within a workplace.

When Churchill made his now famous comment, it is possible he had the House of Commons in mind. Deano Roberts, the senior director of workplace and real estate for the tech giant Slack, recently mused what Churchill might have meant and how it was represented when the former Prime Minister rebuilt the chamber after 1941 bombings. On the original chamber, Roberts noted “Everything about that space is built to encourage adversarial debate and discourse,” with the two side leaning into one another, looking down on and against the opposition. But when Churchill was given an opportunity to rebuild, he did not select a more contemporary design or one that fostered collaboration and communion. He knew, according to Roberts, that in order to be a parliamentary democracy, the space must be built for that purpose: to encourage debate, discourse, and adversarial relationships in order to build a better country.

We can learn a lot from Churchill’s consideration of a space’s influence over our culture and personality. At present, we do the opposite. We tend to allow trends, pop culture, and luscious spreads in design magazines to influence what the spaces we inhabit look like before considering what we need, beyond aesthetics, from that space. For instance, from the 1940s through the early 2000s, we saw that office spaces required cubicles, a small kitchen, enclosed offices lining the perimeters for managers and c-suite executives. We designed our offices this way because it was what the photos told us to do.

This all changed when Google, Facebook, and Apple began showing off their elaborate office spaces. There were pods for napping, bins of legos and crayons, long communal tables where cubicles would normally go, and chairs replaced with large exercise balls. These offices resembled the fun managers wanted to encourage within the office, a playfulness they read would inspire creativity in their most blocked employees. For these industries, a wide-open, circus-like office worked. It made sense because the people working there were innovators, building tools that would help the rest of us communicate and learn and manage our own businesses and lives.

Unfortunately, many other businesses fell in line with this design methodology without consideration for whether it worked for their own needs and goals. What we learned from Churchill and later from Roberts is that we need to build spaces that foster the values we hold dear and create opportunities for the work we want achieved. Roberts used the example of the United State Military Academy in West Point, NY. The building is imposing and when Roberts first arrived as a new cadet, he was intimidated. Later, he felt encouraged by the building, and finally, it reminded him of the values and ideals he was taught there. It was, and still is, a building that stood for something.

The design of and flow through the space was not entirely logical. At mealtime 4,000 cadets gathered around small tables to eat family-style in 25 minutes. There were other—better—ways to design the cafeteria and execute each meal that would have been faster and simpler, but they chose this layout to foster camaraderie and discourse between under and upperclassmen.  Roberts went on to discuss his brief stint at the Pentagon, where no exercise balls or scooters could be found. He said, “The space that I was in felt like a place where you do serious military work. Even though the experience of the space probably wasn’t desirable, it was imperative to the tools and the culture which ultimately made it a very meaningful workspace for me.”

The design of a place and the furniture and decor selected matter as much as the location, as well. A tech startup wouldn’t choose Bangor, Maine for their headquarters while a financial firm wouldn’t replace desks with communal tables and couches. The spaces we inhabit, whether for work or personal use, need to suit the goals we wish to achieve and the other tools we are using to get there. Tools (such as workplace management software), culture, and space might have the right intention on their own, but when we create office spaces, those elements need to align so that there’s an organizational momentum pushing us across the finish line.


Here’s How To Motivate Your Team and Keep Them Motivated

By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management

How to motivate your team and keep them motivated is key, but too many companies that recruit based on the office perks they offer are likely hiding something. They’re building a culture based on fleeting moments of pleasure and distraction, not on the stabilizing tools that attract and retain a strong workforce.

At a recent conference in New York City, Deano Roberts, senior director of workplace and real estate for Slack, presented his company’s approach to creating a workplace where people are excited to work—and it had very little to do with free perks like weekly meditation, ping-pong, beer on tap, and other superficial freebies

Every business wants to stand out. When Google and Facebook launched, each touted perks like Lego rooms, intra-office scooters, and free daily lunches. Other companies clamored to differentiate themselves with equally desirable perks. Roberts believes those freebies are a disguise. “[I]f that’s the reason you think folks are doing their job, if that’s the way you’re recruiting, you grossly misunderstand what motivates individuals to come do their best work.”

While nice touches may give employees something to look forward to on particularly difficult days, your office should already be running smoothly or the perks may seem like they’re covering up real problems. In fact, too many extracurricular workday activities are more of a distraction than a motivational tool, especially if the work and office are already disorganized or poorly managed. If your goal is to operate an efficient, productive, and pleasant business, layering on company-sanctioned interruptions is counterintuitive.

At the core, it’s simple: we want employees who are excited about the work they’ll accomplish. This value is what motivates every generation in today’s workforce. We’re not going to find a dedicated team if all we can offer is cupcakes. Managers should focus on the tools often hidden to the average employee—temperature-controlled rooms, fully stocked supply cabinets, company directories and seating charts, and printers that aren’t jammed or out of ink. No amount of free kombucha can hide the fact that your office is freezing in January and the light above your desk has been out for weeks.

In the past five years alone, we’ve seen tremendous upheaval in the business software available to us. Human resources and recruiting tools have streamlined hiring and review processes, enabling us to give a better first impression to would-be employees and monitoring their performance once hired. Accounting software is more robust, so gone are the days of using multiple spreadsheets with complicated formulas to monitor the organization’s financial health. Better communication technology is available to connect across multiple time zones and workplaces.

But a tool often taken for granted in building an enthusiastic workforce is facility management software. This industry sector hasn’t been updated in nearly two decades—and the time has come to do it. Roberts stated in his presentation: “The highest calling in a great facility management system is that you don’t even know it exists. You just walk to look for somebody and they’re there, or that when a guest comes to visit, you get a notification on time.”

In discussing how Slack designs and operates their many offices across the country, Roberts puts his focus on making sure nothing is broken or dirty, which he believes are the most significant distractions in any workplace. For him, this means employing technology that immediately alerts facilities managers to problems and gives employees the tools to find answers quickly. “We want to remove all those incremental problems and distractions” before they happen. He employed a phrase he learned during his time on active duty in the United States Army: “Never late to meet.” In layperson’s terms, it means that any person or company is anticipating the future needs of employees.

Consider all the moments in a day when a person needs to pause to add more paper to a printer or call a colleague to learn where they are seated that day, or find a conference room or quiet space for a phone call. These events are frustrating for an employee who wants to complete a task, not to mention the time it takes that person to regain focus on their main goal. What Roberts focuses on for Slack, and what other companies are beginning to embrace, is that the perks of an office should be a well-managed office. Everything else is secondary. Even cupcakes.


Taking Breaks At Work Increases Productivity – Here’s How

By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management

Will taking breaks at work increase productivity? Yes! Sitting behind a desk all day is unavoidable for many in the workforce. Programmers, architects, or stock brokers are often hunched in their seats for long stretches. By day’s end, they’re stiff, a little bit achy, and eyes sting from the blue glow of the computer screen.

But take heart for your heart! Desk-centered occupations don’t mean you’re chained to that comfy office chair, in fact taking breaks at work increases productivity. Here are eight tips for staying healthy and pain-free while plugging away on your keyboard:

  1. Take Breaks
    In fact, you should schedule breaks. They don’t need to be long; a five-minute break every two to three hours offers the chance to get up and move. And did you know maintaining a regular schedule with work “sprints” and short rests increases productivity?
  2. Try “Deskercise”
    Some companies are investing in exercise ball-chairs and mini-exercise bikes for under the desk so employees can keep moving throughout the day. But even without these snazzy tools, you can stretch, do leg lifts, and inverted crunches while you work.
  3. Walk It Out
    Your legs are your best friend for exercising at work. Use them instead of the wheels on your desk chair while filing. Suggest a walking meeting with your colleagues; increased blood flow sparks creativity and you might even feel more alert when the meeting is over. If you can’t walk, run, or bike to work, park your car farther out and take the stairs instead of escalators and elevators.
  4. Eat Smart
    Schedule meals as you would breaks to remind yourself of the importance of refueling. Tempting as it may be, avoid eating lunch at your desk. Take this break as an opportunity to switch gears; listen to a podcast or read a book or magazine for pleasure while you eat. And yes, you should pack your own lunch.
  5. The Water Cooler Isn’t Just for Gossip
    During scheduled breaks, refill your water bottle. If it’s full after a few hours, you’re not drinking enough. The short walk to get more water adds a few more paces to your day and the water keeps you more alert than that extra cup of coffee. If the AC is cranked in your office, swap the chilled water and hot coffee for an herbal tea; peppermint is known to increase focus.
  6. Team Up
    Many companies, coworking spaces, and office buildings host intramural sports teams, providing the perfect opportunity to get moving with your colleagues. There’s something about employer-sanctioned outings that make joining less intimidating.
  7. Let Them Eat Cake
    But you don’t have to. Once in a while, that’s a treat. Snarfing a slice at celebrations for employees birthdays, anniversaries, and promotions is bad for your health and waistline. Raise your water bottle in honor of your co-workers.
  8. Adjust Your Monitor
    Both the brightness and placement of your monitor are the key to good desk health. The top of your monitor should meet your eyes, so you’re looking slightly downward when viewing the middle of the screen. This small switch will help your posture and mitigate the occasional backache. Adjust your screen to give a warmer light or switch off blue-light altogether, which reduces stress on your eyes.

Additionally, here’s how an office seating plan can also increase productivity.


Millennials vs Baby Boomers In The Workplace – Which Is Better?

By Nai Kanell
Director of Marketing

Can you mix millennials and baby boomers in the workplace? The baby-boomer generation once made up the largest percentage of the American workforce. It’s the generation responsible for huge economic growth and job creation. But according to Pew Research Center, Millennials will take over the top spot in 2019 (Also read millennials in the workplace – what do millennials love). . Some boomers are retiring, while others who still want to work may lose long-held positions due to outdated skill sets that don’t meet the demands of 21st century employment.

Baby boomers also are the generation labeled as “difficult” and “unwilling to change.” That’s an assumption driven by increased use of technology in the workplace and tech-savvy youngsters taking away their jobs. But that’s not the case. Though companies rely on sophisticated technical skills to drive higher profits, baby boomers aren’t being pushed aside due to their adaptability, or lack thereof.

Older Americans may be late adopters of technology, but they’re the generation that started careers when computers were first introduced to offices. As the capabilities of these computers changed, boomers adapted with them. They evolved their work styles from clunky desktops to handheld tablets and smartphones. And boomers kept up.

So where does the real issue lie? Ageism. According to AARP, two-thirds of older workers report encountering age discrimination. And it’s on the rise.

Now that people are living longer, they’re also working longer. But those as young as 50 find their employment in a rather precarious state. Because laying someone off based on age is illegal, businesses adopt a variety of techniques to weed out older workers. For instance, IBM denied older employees annual raises and put them on “resource action” lists, claiming they were restructuring. According to ProPublica, IBM encouraged these employees to “apply for other IBM positions, while quietly advising managers not to hire them and requiring many of the workers to train their replacements.” Given the size of IBM and, very likely, their legal department, each of these tactics toed the line of illegality without actually stepping over it.

It’s fair to suggest that replacing older, more tenured employees with younger ones is better for the bottom line, as they come at a fraction of the salary. But it overlooks key differences between Millennials and baby boomers when it comes to work. Millennials are notoriously flexible, open to change, and they work faster. They are also unlikely to stay at any one job for more than two years, making them a risky investment. On the other hand, boomers might work slower but their tenure gives them “institutional knowledge” that newer workers don’t have.

Ashton Applewhite, a blogger focusing on ageism, says “older workers go more slowly, but they’re more accurate. Age confers patience and coping skills, the ability to handle stress.” Their years of skill building are more relevant than the ability to learn every shortcut on Slack. Having a career, rather than a one- to two-year job, confers dependability and commitment—two key traits in any employee.

Technology is definitely leaving older generations behind, but not because they can’t hack it. Prasanna Tambe, Wharton professor of operations, information, and decisions, says “That is the moment we are in, where organizations are struggling to respond to new and difficult questions about their workforce needs that are being raised by the disruption of their traditional business models or by technologies like new internal communication tools or artificial intelligence systems. It’s not surprising if this uncertainty further exacerbates the tensions that already arise naturally when employees of different ages are together in the workplace.”

Businesses are changing rapidly and are unsure of what to do, so they’re making decisions based on worker stereotypes and the idea that young means fresher, better. In ditching older employees and high-turnover millennials, there is a lack of knowledge transfer from one employee to the next. When career employees leave, they take years of company changes, projects, successes, and failures with them.

Rather than axing older employees for more app-happy Millennials, employers should consider co-mentoring programs in which younger and older employees work together to bridge knowledge and skill gaps. Older employees don’t need severance packages; they want the opportunity to demonstrate they know what they are doing. Boomers lived through decades of modernization and the need to keep up. They are, after all, the greatest generation.


Millennial Office Design: Workplace Design Isn’t Generational

By Nai Kanell
Director of Marketing

It makes sense to associate sleek workplace designs with Millennials and Gen Z employees. Younger generations grew up using smartphones; some haven’t held a hefty Blackberry or gaped at flip phones. They love clean lines, that minimalist bent with an eye toward fashion. And these generations want workplaces to match that look and feel (Also read millennials in the workplace – what do millennials love).

Take Millennial-founded startups Glossier and Sweetgreen. Their store designs match the aesthetics of their workplaces, which has prompted others to take inspiration from them when drawing up plans for new or upgraded offices.

Some business owners assume older employees are a tough sell on things like communal spaces, hot-desking, remote work, and in-office libraries. Hot-desking may be foreign to some, but the concept is not a Millennial brainchild. The Big Four—Ernst & Young, Deloitte, KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers—have employed hot-desking for decades.

They’re not the only companies to embrace innovative workplace designs. The cosmetics giant Estée Lauder opened for business in 1946 in Manhattan’s General Motors Building. It operated as most traditional businesses at that time: everyone had a desk, a desktop computer (or typewriter, early on), and a landline. There were cubicles and corner offices.

But as Estée Lauder acquired newer, younger, and a more diverse set of brands, it shaped offices to match its more-modern roster. Some staff relocated to a sleek, new workplace in Long Island—home to tech and lifestyle startups of the time. Other employees were encouraged to work remotely.

Today, Pfizer, a 169 year-old company, is moving to a new skyscraper, The Spiral, in Manhattan’s far-west Hudson Yards and is selling its two gargantuan buildings on 42nd Street. The new location is not as accessible and, like the Big Four, there won’t be a seat for every person. But the Spiral is dubbed “the world’s most connected and collaborative office environment,” featuring terraces and outdoor amenities on every floor.

It makes you wonder why people assume Gen-X and Baby Boomers won’t enjoy upgraded digs. Humans have existed for more than 60,000 years and only began living a more sedentary life 5,000 years ago. In all that time, we weren’t adapted to indoor desk-jockeying. Even now, humans thrive in natural light and fresh air; it’s why manufacturers seize on opportunities to make light bulbs and lamps that mimic sunlight.

Though one of a our strongest natural desires is to be in fresh air, we also have an aversion to change. So while some managers may perceive older generations as in the way of office updates, that’s only partly true. The real obstacle is communicating change to their entire team—across all generations.

No company is the same today as it was on its first day of business. Entrepreneurs build companies to grow and they hire employees who share that passion. Part of growth is adapting to a new circumstances. A company cannot continue to set new goals or adapt to new tools and technology if the workplace it inhabits is stagnates. It takes the evolution of all of these—mission, tools, and space—to achieve success. Framing a workplace change as an opportunity for growth and continued progress is where all generations can come together.