Art: Charter

Co-founder, A+I

Read the full list of Charter 30 honorees here, and learn more about Charter Pro here.

With many organizations overhauling their approach to office space in an attempt to bring workers back, Folger’s work as co-founder of A+I—a workplace strategy, architecture, and design firm—puts employee experience and company culture at the center, incorporating those strategic considerations into logistical and design decisions around office footprint and layout. The firm’s portfolio includes new headquarters and renovations for companies including Squarespace, Canvas, and Horizon Media.

What is your biggest question or curiosity about the future of work?

The new hybrid reality means the benchmarks we all depended on as workplace planning shorthand are dead. When considering office space, companies can no longer rely on standardized metrics such as square footage per employee, which foreground capacity and ignore community. As organizations prioritize the quality of the collective work experience and the impact of the physical environment on employee performance and satisfaction, the question becomes, what uses are we actually planning for and how will success be measured? And can there be such a thing as a universal benchmark when there is no such thing as a universal workplace?

What is one problem leaders should focus on in the coming year?

Don’t let decisions about space trail policy and technology. With 173 million square feet of leases in the New York region alone set to expire through 2028, now is the time for leaders to interrogate their unique needs and consider the relationship between physical workspace and organizational outcomes. More than their growth trajectory, they should focus on how and where their people work best. I wonder which companies will seize the opportunity this current situation offers?

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