You can take for granted that office space today has to be functional, efficient, cost-effective and flexible to meet the needs of highly competitive corporations. This includes the integration of technology, furniture, construction, and access to resources and informational data banks. But with today's tight and competitive labor market, companies, in order to meet market competition, are creating enticing environments to retain existing employees as well as to solicit and expand new employees.

This new corporate focus is changing the structure of the way business is performed. Moving from a highly structured corporate environment to a more entrepreneurial team-based organization allows for faster and easier opportunities to perform research and development and implementation of new products and ideas. Having an entrepreneurial spirit further allows a corporation to reach the market faster and easier, and to respond to the competitive swings and spikes occurring as a result of our high-speed technological age.

To serve the new entrepreneurial corporation, a design firm's first need is an in-depth understanding of a corporation's short- and long-term business objectives. The first key element for the designer is to strategically analyze and assist a corporation to develop an action plan that brings a company's facilities plan parallel with its business plan. Second, in meeting a corporation's facility needs, the designer should implement and comprehensively execute each project-driven assignment so that the facility is both flexible and responsively adaptable to the change ongoing in an entrepreneurial environment. We call this approach "total architecture."

At the core of total architecture is a comprehensive understanding of both the fixed and soft peripheral issues of a company's environment. The soft peripheral issues that are essential to the success of a corporation are quality-of-life factors. These intangibles can be make-or-break issues in the retention and hiring of new staff members. It is important for a corporation to create a working office environment that visibly reflects its character as a productive, creative, flexible, cost-effective, fun, people-oriented place to work.

Employees today look for companies that exude an intangible atmosphere of empowerment. Enabling such a philosophy of empowerment is ongoing training and the promotion of new ideas, products, services and procedures that further stimulate and keep the interest of key people.

The ultimate value of a productive, stimulating office environment cannot be overemphasized. It is essential to the short- and long-term growth and competitive edge a corporation needs both to maintain and to expand its market share of business.