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Employees Share Feedback on Stanford Redwood City Pilot Workplace

Staff working at sit-stand desks in Stanford Redwood City pilot workplace at 3160 Porter Drive

The way we work today looks very different than it did a decade or two ago. So it’s not surprising that the things we need in our workplace have evolved, too. As it turns out, to be successful, many of us spend little time sitting at our workstation. In fact, throughout the day we oscillate between workstation and meeting rooms to areas that enable open group discussion and collaboration.

Variation and mobility are common threads in our list of workplace needs, and yet we also want to feel as if our space is, well, ours. This is the challenge to firms who design workspaces, like Clive Wilkinson Architects (CWA), who is designing the Stanford Redwood City campus, set to open to about 2,700 employees in 2019.

"Stanford Redwood City will be a textured workplace with a variety of spaces for both focused and collaborative work," said Amber Wernick, Clive Wilkinson Architects interior designer. "This varied landscape means that people don’t have to sit in just one place all day. With the advances in mobile technology, each employee will have an opportunity to choose where they want to work based on their activity."

How and Where Stanford Staff Work

In preparation for the design and construction of Stanford Redwood City, the university conducted an all-staff survey in summer 2016 to understand how we currently work across Stanford. More than 1,400 employees completed the survey administered by CWA, which assessed employees’ primary work environment, the type of work they do, where they work, and ways to improve the workplace. The Clive Wilkinson team also toured existing campus workplaces and held focus group discussions.

Here are some important things they learned about how we work (view this chart as text-only):

The five areas in which employees were least satisfied include:

  1. ability to expand/accommodate growth
  2. acoustic quality
  3. team storage space
  4. air quality
  5. ability to hold confidential conversations

In terms of amenities or variety of space, more than half of respondents expressed that the following were lacking:

  • phone rooms to make confidential calls
  • lounge seating for information collaboration
  • quiet space for heads-down work

Designing for our Future

The feedback CWA collected from employees informed a framework for the interior design plan for Stanford Redwood City, which attempts to give these 2,700 staff employees the mobility and variation they want while offering a certain amount of pliability so that spaces can stretch to accommodate future growth.

In addition, the new campus workplace will address the need for small- and medium-size meeting spaces and improved technology, and it will offer similar amenities to those available on the historic campus. It will also be an opportunity to identify new ways of working such as implementing a more digital environment, instituting centralized printing and creating ways to increase collaboration and cross-department connection.

Last spring and summer, nearly 650 staff had the chance to spend time in the pilot workplace, and experience the furniture and technology set-ups first hand. One such employee was Becky Vogel, Assistant VP in the Office of Development.

In Becky's role, she often visits modern and open office configurations throughout the Bay Area and was impressed with the design team's ability to create an immersive and genuine experience in the pilot workplace.

"After being in an office for 22 years, interestingly enough, I really liked sitting out in the open space," Becky shared. "I was surprised at how easy it was to focus and concentrate. The space was bright and airy, and overall felt like a very positive environment."

Because the space was designed for flexibility, Becky also added, "I spend a lot of time in meetings, but the varied spaces definitely got me moving around and meeting in places I normally wouldn't. Frankly, it’s just more interesting when there’s more movement -- it gets you unstuck."

Employees Share Feedback on Their Pilot Workplace Experience

After working or touring the pilot workplace, employees shared feedback about the space. To learn about the pilot workplace survey results, hover over the image and the icons below or view the text-only version

Where do we go from here

In the coming months, CWA and department representatives will finalize the interior furnishings and floor configurations. Each department has the ability to customize furnishings based on their employee needs. Once furnishings are selected and ordered, the construction phase of the interior buildings will begin.

Have a question?

Submit your question or share feedback using the Stanford Redwood City Contact Us form.

Stanford Redwood City