Archive for the ‘workplace’ Category

@HOKConsulting – What Are We Talking About?

In the last two months, I have co-presented on three separate, but very much related, workplace topics at two IFMA Facility Fusion Conferences and opted to write a collective post about them to, hopefully, get to a much meaningful reductive summary.

IFMA_DWFirst of these presentations was with Leigh Stringer, now an independent consultant and author of The Green Workplace with another book coming up, and was titled “Distributed Work: Fad or Here to Stay?”. About five years ago, HOK had collaborated with IFMA to produce their first Distributed Work Research Report, which was meant to be an all-inclusive name for various alternative work strategies used at the time.

This year, …

Q+A with HOK’s Stephy Liu, Senior Interior Designer in Beijing

Stephy LiuBased in Beijing, Stephy Liu is a senior project designer with HOK’s interiors group. In this Q+A, Stephy describes trends and challenges she faces working with corporate clients.

1. What are some recent trends in workplace strategy, and how do you apply them in your design approach?

The talent shortage in many large countries – including the U.S. and China – challenges organizations to recruit and retain the best people. Creating vibrant offices that provide flexibility and choices for where, when and how work happens is attracting more attention because a single, all-purpose workstation cannot cope with the complexity and unpredictability of today’s work.

For example, our design for a …

St. Louis Team Tours 700 Market Project Site

Thanks to Jason Pierce, project architect in St. Louis, for this post.

Aimee and Tom

HOK’s Aimee Rowbottom, project manager, and Tom Kaczkowski, project lighting designer, share interesting facts about the 700 Market building. It is the youngest building on the National Historic Registry, sat vacant for approximately 10 years and contained more than 150,000 bricks, including 20,000 special radial and angle bricks.  

A group from HOK’s St. Louis office toured a current project at 700 Market in downtown St. Louis. HOK is part of the team updating the building originally designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee for the General American Life Insurance Company.

The building opened in 1975 but has been vacant since 2004, when General American moved …

Hospitality at the Workplace


During the past five years, the worlds of hospitality and corporate real estate have undergone an incredible transformation. The traditional approach toward real estate asset management has shifted to a focus on offerings that accommodate mobility, changing demographics and technology.

In the past, hotels approached their planning and visioning process by looking at brand standards and identifying a suitable theme based on the destination’s local culture. Similarly, companies relied on space allocation metrics to identify the amount of support spaces needed per employee and to balance the number of offices and workstations.

Recently, however, clients from both sectors are looking for innovative ways to respond to the demands of the new economy. Randa Tukan and …

HOK LA 6th Annual Halloween Contest

I can’t believe it has been 6 years since LA’s first Halloween costume contest.

This year we had some fierce competition.  We had over 40 people dress up!!  Not only did we have individual costumes, we encouraged the office to form groups for our TV Land theme.

It’s amazing to see so many people participate, be so creative and have so much fun.
Adam NicholAlex WebsterJordan NguyenJamila Valero

IFMA World Workplace 2014

IFMA’s World Workplace 2014 annual conference and exposition took place September 17-19 in New Orleans. The conference was well-attended, with more than 1,000 industry professionals traveling to New Orleans to attend the conference and enjoy the city’s amazing food and music.


Several HOK professionals participated. Lisa Brinkman and Cheryl Jefferies, part of HOK On-Site Services, attended the event.Isilay Civan, Sofia Fonseca and Eva Garza participated as speakers.

IFMA 2014

Designing the Ultimate Workplace: Reflections from WORKTECH 14 West Coast

Gordon WrightThanks to Gordon Wright, director of HOK’s global Consulting practice, for this guest post.

As I paced back and forth in the San Francisco airport waiting for my Friday afternoon flight, which had been delayed by four hours, I decided to do something productive with my extra time and record a few thoughts from the one-day WORKTECH 14 West Coast conference I had just participated in.

With themes ranging from the blurring of physical and virtual space to the city as the ultimate platform of innovation, the conference revolved around the future of space in the workplace. This is not necessarily a new topic, but certainly on the …

The World of Workplace Is Changing


The world of workplace is changing. After several years of market uncertainty, real estate growth appears to be back across different industries. With renewed growth, companies now face a different and more complex set of challenges and are choosing from a wider array of workplace strategy experts who should become their trusted partner in each stage of the process.

Workplace strategy also has evolved as a recognized service within the industry and a wealth of information is now available about this subject. The challenge appears to be deciphering the true value and biases behind research conducted by service providers and anticipating the changing challenges faced by Corporate Real Estate (CRE) teams.

On September 18, …

Q+A with HOK’s Steve Henigan, EMEA Regional Leader, Consulting


Steve Henigan joined HOK in London in 2013 to lead the firm’s regional consulting practice. In 2014, he received CoreNet’s Global Luminary Award for Excellence for being the highest-rated speaker at the EMEA 2013 CoreNet Summit.

1. What does your role entail?

My role is to lead and grow our consulting offering across the EMEA region. It is an interesting role as I am part of our global consulting leadership team and also work closely with the London management team across all of our disciplines. I see my role as having three key components:

  • Responsibility for the identification and securing of new opportunities from both new and existing clients. I spend

Changing the Conversation from Cost to Value – A Summary of the EMEA CoreNet Summit, Berlin: 15-17th September 2014

CorenetSitting on the terrace of the Intercontinental bar in Berlin enjoying a pint (or should I say 0.5l) of Paulaner I look back at the EMEA CoreNet Summit and consider what I will take home with me on the Easyjet flight to “London” Southend airport.

The conference was based around the theme “Changing the Conversation from Cost to Value.” Although relevant, this is not a new subject and an area I think most CRE professionals will agree has been at the top of their agenda for some time.

The workplace is changing, that is quite clear and this was demonstrated by both Barclays and eBay, who provided us with insight into their workplace …

West Coast v. East Coast: It’s Throwdown Time at HOK!

These are historic times.  For those of you who don’t follow hockey, the Los Angeles Kings are meeting the New York Rangers for the first time ever in the Stanley Cup Final.  Sure, the teams met in the NHL playoffs in 1981, but that was back when the divisions and conferences had names.  Now, it’s a battle for coastal supremacy – Western Conference v. Eastern Conference.

IMG_4498 Randy’s Donuts transformed to a giant hockey puck

Sure, when you think of Los Angeles, you don’t usually think hockey.  But the LA Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012, only 2 years ago.  When was the last time the Rangers won …

Q+A with Tom Polucci, Director of Interiors Based in HOK’s New York Office

Polucci Tom for blog

Tom Polucci, AIA, IIDA, LEED GA, director of interiors based in New York City, discusses how his colleagues and clients inspire him every day. He also comments on workplace trends and explains how design can support healthier work environments.

As a firm-wide interiors leader, Tom is a member of HOK’s board of directors and marketing board. He has more than 20 years of experience managing the design of projects for organizations worldwide. Educated, trained and licensed as an architect, Tom focuses on creating exceptional environments for clients.

What workplace design trends are you seeing? What do you predict for the future?

TP: Collaboration is still key. Everyone is focused …

Whip Your Workplace into Shape

Photo Credit: Oscar Rethwill Photo Credit: Oscar Rethwill

Designing and implementing a successful workplace strategy is much like creating (and sticking to) a diet or fitness program. The underlying  theme is that you are committing to some degree of change in order to better yourself (or your organization) and reach a specific goal. For instance, imagine someone deciding to run a marathon. One can assume some of the underlying goals with this decision. Perhaps the runner is driven by a personal challenge, or a means to get into better shape, or a step in a larger, ongoing training regimen. This initial decision is often the result of both an awareness and desire for …

Taking Charge of Your Career

Jan De Weer advises to not be afraid to self promote. Jan De Weer advises the group to not be afraid to self promote.

Stacy Krell talks to the office about career advancement.

In the first of a year-long Careers by Design series, Senior Human Resources Manager Stacy Krell talked to the St. Louis office about “Taking Charge of Your Career!”

The session is part of an office initiative for 2014 in which professionals from around the office discuss topics ranging from general industry trends, looking in depth at ongoing and completed projects and career development.

Stacy’s overarching message to the staff was the need to take …

Create, Inspire, Connect, Care

This time of year HOK’s values are shared with the City of Houston through volunteering, donations, and community involvement.

HOK Movember 2013

As we completed the month of November…and “Movember” (dedicated to raise awareness to men’s health), many thanks to those who joined the worthy cause and sported mighty stylish “staches” or donated to the team.

We Care Event

Another year of We Care is complete and the snowman hot cocoa jars were cute and tasty! The event was full of children zooming around to create crafts and with a great turnout of volunteers and kids, all 96 of HOKs crafts were made within an hour….

Build it Forward

Team HOK with their student team leader Cassandra Team HOK with their student team leader Cassandra

On Saturday November 2nd, HOK Houston along with other members of the Houston design, engineering and construction community, participated in the second annual ACE Mentor Program Build it Forward event. The event was designed to raise scholarship funds for the Houston chapter of the ACE Mentor Program while giving students and their mentors an opportunity to give back to their community.

This year teams constructed convertible picnic tables that function as benches or a full size picnic table when converted. The teams built approximately 15 composite picnic tables that will be donated to local charitable organizations.

Celebrating James Klaiber’s 40 Years of Service to HOK


This month the Houston office honored James Klaiber for his great accomplishment of 40 years with HOK, YES ANOTHER engineer to join “40 year club!”

James practices electrical engineering and has good company in the MEP department… many of which are here for the long haul, like 20 and 30 years, plus!

Congratulations James and THANK YOU for your continued excellence.

My Day at a Co-Working Space

My setup for the day

Last week I spent my first day in a co-working space. I need to give a big thanks to the great folks at WELD in Dallas for being so accommodating and friendly. Great space. Great people. Great coffee. WELD will be setting up a new space in Nashville in the near future, so be on the lookout for that if you’re in the area.

My day started with working from home for a few hours. WELD’s typical hours are 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. so I had some time at home in the morning to catch up on a few things and jump on a conference call before …

Leverage Your Workplace to Attract and Retain Top Talent

Just about every conversation I have related to employee attraction and retention tends to turn into an HR sounding discussion about office protocols, incentives, and perks. And there are many great articles on this topic. This recent article by Josh Bersin is a great example of some economic factors and organizational approaches to retaining the best people. But as a workplace strategist, I need to help my clients make more tangible links between their physical workplace and how it can be leveraged to attract and retain top talent. Below I offer up a few thoughts. 
First Impressions

Most people would guess that …

Celebrating Ed Abboud’s 40 Years of Service to HOK


This month we honored Ed Abboud with a lunch event to show our support of his great accomplishment of 40 years with HOK, YES 40!  Along with his HOK family, Ed’s wife, children and grandchildren were able to join the celebration and coincidently it was also 40 years ago that day his daughter was born! He shared stories about his journey through which he has observed the advances of technology and the sustainability of construction with the less experienced staff, which includes all but a handful of us!

Congratulations Ed, and THANK YOU for your continued excellence.

In his own words, he express his thanks below.

“Your thoughts, e-mails, words, cards, hugs and gifts have truly touched me …

Get Smart About Space Utilization in the Workplace

Humana_HUB Anthropology Deliverable Final 020411“We’re just not using our space effectively” is one way clients typically sum up their pain points when we first sit down to talk with them.

“Well, walk us through your typical work day” will often be one of the first follow-up responses a workplace strategist will ask to begin to discover what’s working and what’s not in terms of how people use their space.

As we continue to look for more effective ways to improve the overall workplace experience, one tool we can use is measuring and analyzing space utilization. To gain better insight into how companies utilize their office space, there are several ways to approach these …

Communicating Across Remote Workplaces

As many smaller to mid-size companies evolve into global organizations, the way we collaborate with one another also needs to evolve. We continue to see a plethora of technology based solutions being rolled out to enable more global collaboration. I personally rely heavily on the hardware, software, apps, and the ubiquitous 24/7 access to get the job done, whatever that job may be at any given time. But lately I’ve been working with more remote teammates and I realize that while we definitely have good technology to collaborate, we sometimes forget the human element to how we effectively communicate with one another. No matter how good your technology, the effectiveness of simple …

Happy April Fool’s :)



1,000 Days without a Car: A Transformation of Transportation

It has been nearly one thousand days since Earth Day 2010.  I’m proud to be part of a firm that celebrates this day as passionately as we do.  It means something.  Our belief in and commitment to sustainability is unparalleled amongst our competition.  Every year we campaign and rally around our messages as if an election was at stake.  We’ve turned the lights out.  We’ve recharged.  We go above and beyond to prove to the world that we care about the world.  I like this.

One thousand days ago, it was this passion and commitment that drove me to stop driving.  On Earth Day 2010, I sold my car.  For many of …

Leaving Space for People too.

This is a short post I’ve written as a guest contributor for a friend at Otto. Check out other amazing posts on design and products at 3Rings!

There’s an intrinsic dilemma that all architects and designers carry with them: the struggle with the idea of control. We lose precious sleep over the often unknowable outcomes of our projects.

20121114 - HOK Office-248 small

An ever-present but less contemplated thought is the impact of those outcomes. While this also can be “unknowable,” designers can draw on evidence and research to predict the impacts of projects with more accuracy. From a business culture standpoint, we crave predictability. Yet, it rarely leaves room for growth, …

Morning Habits of Highly Successful People

Eat the frog first?! That’s what Fast Company Magazine recommends in Kevin Purdy’s article What Successful People Do With the First Hour of Their Day. I am not one to eat the frog first, for sure. My day usually starts about an hour before others show up at the office. This allows me some time to get my list of things to do together, catch up on email and voicemail, and sart checking a few things off my list. I typically accompany this start up time with a cup of “fancy coffee” and some breakfast (usually greek yogurt).mmm…coffee!I save my frog eating for mid-day. I wondered if …

Happy 4th!!

What a better way to start summer than with a Summer kick off/Independence Day party?!

We had a great turn-out on a perfect day today… Clear skies, not too hot, nice breeze and a ton of fantastic food from our food truck caterer, the Greasy Wiener.  Not to mention much thanks …

LA Kings Rule (yea.. that’s right!)

Why the Los Angeles Kings are going to DESTROY the St. Louis Blues! (ahem.. St Louis office.. we are talking to you…)

  1. We have Jonathan Quick! Everyone knows the playoffs can revolve around goaltending, and not only is our goalie a top Vezina Trophy candidate, his name is QUICK! I mean a goalie couldn’t have a more fitting name if his parents had named him, Jonathan “Brick Wall Between the Pipes”. Who do the Blues have in goal? Good question, cause he was riding the pine a few games ago.
  2. Dustin Brown is going to crush Elliott, with a LEGAL hit. With all the crappy fights and horrible penalties of the first round, Dustin Brown has easily 2 or 3 of the

Pretty Female Architects

I was curiously Google-image searching the term “female architect” one afternoon and the results were stereotypical as expected; hard hats inside finished buildings, abundant rolls of paper, every face with a huge smile and the occasional Zaha head shot (go girl!). Another observation was that every female is young and attractive; this made me wonder where that portrayal was conceived?

Soon after, I came across an article in February’s “Architect” magazine (p.29) stating that “Only about 3% of executives in major American corporations – including architecture firms- are women (according to McKinsey & Co.).”

I wasn’t so shocked; it’s a man’s world we’re infiltrating, and only for the last few generations. However, the …

More ‘We’ than ‘Me': HOK’s Lisa Fulford-Roy Discusses Workplace Design in the Toronto Star

Thanks to Lauren Gibbs and Dale Pozzi of HOK’s Strategic Accounts + Consulting group for passing this our way:

Fraser Milner Casgrain, Vancouver

A recent article published in the Great Features: Ideas in Innovations section of the Toronto Star featured how new ways of working, along with changes in working environments, have promoted collaborative, effective team environments for many organizations. Several companies that have recently redesigned their work spaces are featured in the article, including those designed by HOK.

Lisa Fulford-Roy, HOK’s vice president of client strategy, stated that many companies are looking to implement agile workplace standards to reduce costs and space while also improving flexibility for …