Workspace Experts: An Interview with BOS President, Georgia Dobbelaere

BOS President, Georgia Dobbelaere shares valuable insights gained from over 35 years creating workspaces for thousands of companies. From trends to talent attraction techniques, innovation to creative space applications, this interview covers a wide range of topics impacting the modern workplace.

BOS President georgia dobbelaere
georgia dobbelaere interview

What should clients understand about controlling noise in an open-office/collaborative space?

Clients should understand that there are many variables that need to be taken into consideration regarding noise. For instance, architectural –  exposed ceilings, hard floor surfaces and drywall do not afford the sound absorption necessary, so it is important to add some acoustical clouds in the ceiling, soft flooring in many areas and acoustical panels on walls.

Combining this with sound masking, soft furniture ancillary pieces and screen dividers will all combine to control the bouncing of sound throughout the office landscape.

How can video conferencing technology impact an organization’s team?

Video conferencing can impact any organization tremendously, especially for companies with multiple locations. Video conferencing allows for much more effective meetings and minimizes interruptions that can occur on standard conference calls.  Additionally, travel costs can be significantly reduced because face-to-face meetings and demos can occur, without meeting in person.

Why is it important for clients to interview/meet their furniture dealer partner before the schematic design phase?

A furniture dealership’s responsibility is to deliver the vision of the end user and A&D (architecture and design firm). There are so many tasks that are done behind the scenes, by so many individuals, that impact the success of the deliverable.

Meeting the dealer allows all to understand the expectations and to know the critical timelines and elements required that may not be known by the parties that are not intimately connected to the furniture manufacturers and other subcontractors responsible for installation.

What are some ways that companies can bridge the gaps in a multi-generational office environments?

Older generations had environments in which to concentrate such as enclosed offices and high cubical walls, while younger generations sometimes simply need headphones.  Both deter from collaboration, therefore, if privacy screens can be provided and a few small rooms for private conversations, all generations can cohabitate in an open environment and be very collaborative.

georgia dobbelaere interview

What are the most creative things you’ve seen done in spaces you’ve furnished?

Booths with soft seating and tables, beautiful acoustical panels on walls and asymmetrical clouds dropped from open ceilings.

How is technology changing the spaces we work in?

Technology is becoming a game-changer.  From wireless ability to eliminate being tethered to a workstation or office, to collaborative technology to afford collaboration, video conferencing and screen sharing, the list is endless. Digital messaging throughout the office engages employees to know what is going on without having the message lost in an email that is long-gone in an inbox.

Is change at work good? Why?

Change is good in every aspect of life.  If you aren’t open to change, you will not learn, will not evolve and will not grow.

What are some ideas for wellness programs you think are effective or that you have seen clients implement?

I have seen everything from providing walking treadmill desks to ping pong tables within an environment to encourage movement. Sit-to-Stand desks also are a proponent of wellness within the office space. I also feel that incentives to workout, outside of the office, are important, whether it consists of a credit to a health club or a contest of who has more steps in a month, this encourages teammates to think about well being in and out of the office.

georgia dobbelaere interview

What are three things that clients often don’t consider when planning a move?

1. Timeline of decision making with critical milestones highlighted
2.  Technology integration within the furniture and collaborative spaces.
3.  Messaging to the employees of what is happening and when it will happen.

What advice would you give a person who has just been assigned to manage their company’s move, but who has never done it before?

Ask for help. Break up the tasks and form a committee to which the tasks are assigned. Communicate and meet regularly to hold the team accountable.

Why is space planning and design critical to a successful working environment?

Poor space planning and design is a foolproof recipe for disaster, from poor communication channels to inefficiencies of movement, if thoughtful consideration is not given to the space plan and design, all other elements of the working environment are meaningless.

What are three ways a company can create ‘a better place to work’?

1.  Open exposure to light
2.  Open communication about happenings within the organization.
3.  Consideration of ideas from all generations within the office as to what can be improved.

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