Top Takeaways – The Space Age: Innovative & Traditional Office Solutions

The Space Age: Innovative & Traditional Office Solutions
July 20, 2017 at the Foundation Center Northeast, NYC

An outstanding panel of experts engaged in a dynamic conversation about workspace options for consultants and nonprofits. This event took place at a time when economic and lifestyle changes are driving work-at-home professionals and nonprofits to rethink the design of their workplace arrangement.

The panelists focused on three points:

  1. The ways individuals and nonprofit organizations can make best use of their services.
  2. An overview of current, emerging, and future workplace trends and the challenges that presents to their clients/customers.
  3. Their thoughts about how workplace design can empower meaning and purpose by promoting innovation, improving employee experience, and expanding choice and autonomy.

Top takeaways included:

  • Coworking is an evolving style of work that involves a wide variety of shared working environments. It’s a design that will stick around for some time due to the high cost of rent in New York City and the growing need among organizations and individuals for a sense of community, human interaction, and sharing of ideas.
  • In NYC there’re now more employees using less space because there’s not much available space for expansion in the City. As a result, many traditional offices explore coworking by re-developing their existing spaces in a hybrid design with a combination of open space and some private enclosed space. Open design matched with the right style of furniture, such as benching, not only maximizes space but also combines function and flexibility and focuses the working environment on the team’s workspace instead of an individual’s workspace.
  • Any major shift in an organization’s working space will affect– and might even be disruptive–to the workflow and organizational/team culture. For that reason proper change management around the move or space redesign should be a required part of the project, not an afterthought.
  • Engaging an architect early in the workspace design process is important in order to create a vision with design elements that can help retain employees longer, improve organizational efficiency, and deliver a better product to clients.
  • Current economic forces can make it a challenge for small budget organizations to access affordable space. Possible resources that may address that challenge include: 1) Nonprofit Coordinating Committee, which advertises available shared space at and PivotDesk at; 2) Center for Social Innovation at, which has created a platform that provides nonprofits and social entrepreneurs with their best possible chances of creating real impact; 3) Developing partnerships, with organizations, particularly those who have complementary mission objectives, and 4) Shepherding resources in order to raise needed funds.

Our discussion was moderated by Kate Sherwood, Registered Architect and Project Manager at Gensler, a global architecture, design, planning, and consulting firm; and featured the following panelists:

Benjamin Dyett, Partner at OpenWork, a global shared workspace strategy consultancy, and the Co-Founder and former Co-President of Grind, one of the original coworking platforms;

David Lebenstein, Executive Managing Director & Co-Director of the Nonprofit Specialty Practice at Cushman & Wakefield;

Daria Siegel, Vice President of Economic Development Programs at the Alliance for Downtown New York and manager of Lower Manhattan HQ, a hybrid work, meeting, and event space; and

Jeff Simon
, Registered Architect, and Owner & Principal of Jeffrey Simon Architecture & Design.

This event was made possible with contributions from the Foundation Center and Cushman & Wakefield.

To learn more about professional services and information related to our panel discussion, view our Resource List here:


Posted in: Event Highlights, Tools for Consultants

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