St. Charles Entrepreneur Leads the Way on Workplace Adaptability
The Hauser Group helps businesses prepare by integrating culture with design, layout, and workstations
It comes as no surprise that today’s workforce looks very different than it did at the start of the millennium. Rapidly changing technology has given many office employees the ability to work from practically anywhere at any time, while the country’s economic situation has brought about an increase in freelance and contract workers, as well as “accidental entrepreneurs,” workers who are redefining themselves out of necessity.
Add to that more dual-income households which require flexibility in their quest to “have it all,” and an office can end up with a very transient staff.
Integrating continual changes into the workplace brings about unique challenges for today’s business leaders. Space needs can change rapidly, and may vary from day-to-day, depending on the makeup of the team. As the changes continue to occur, businesses will find themselves in the unique position to continually redefine their operations.
No one understands this better than Mara Hauser, president of The Hauser Group, a national trendsetting office design firm. Hauser, a natural innovator, looks to future trends in the workplace and specializes in helping businesses create tomorrow’s workplace today.
Hauser says that roles which used to be filled by full-time employees will soon become blends of a combination of employees and contingent workers. This non-traditional employee will make up 40 to 45 percent of the entire workforce by 2020 and over 50 percent of the workforce by 2030. There will also be a dynamic shift to a multi-generational workforce that will consist of five generations by the year 2020. This will have great impact to corporate real estate portfolios, facility requirements, as well a substantial effect on corporate culture.
“What this tells us,” says Hauser, “is that work spaces will need to reflect a more casual and informal attitude, and more fluid and flexible work styles and schedules. Designs for workplaces will need to incorporate community, collaboration, and concentration.” Open floor plans and adaptable work spaces allow people to easily integrate into the team without a major renovation of the workspace. Additionally, Hauser, a married mom of two, says that providing employees with the ability to have a good work-life balance will be increasingly important.
Mara Hauser strategically selected her office location in downtown St. Charles, IL, due to accessibility of amenities for her employees. For example, within walking distance of their office is a grocery store, dry cleaner, coffee shop, bakery, three banks and numerous restaurants, among other things. This provides convenience that today’s employee’s look for without having to have those amenities on site. Hauser says that companies must embrace and incorporate workforce trends of the future into their business today if they want to stay competitive.
In addition to a great location, The Hauser Group boasts smart office space, with work stations, tables and filing cabinets all on casters for quick and easy redesign; meeting spaces that lend themselves to creativity; and the use of laptops and wi-fi so employees have the ability to work from anywhere in the office.
In 2011, The Hauser Group was named to Inc. Magazine’s 500/5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies, ranking number 197 in the Business Products and Services Category. This is due, in part, to Hauser’s own vision to continually grow and innovate. Currently, she is taking part in Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program at City Colleges of Chicago, part of a $500 million national investment by the Goldman Sachs Foundation to help small businesses create jobs and economic growth by providing entrepreneurs with a practical business education, access to capital and business support services. The free, competitive application program is currently operating in Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York and Salt Lake City.
Hauser’s interest in the 10,000 Small Businesses Program was piqued after learning about it at the National Association of Women Business Owners Chicago Chapter’s NAWBO Day, at which she was a speaker. Someone then approached her about applying, and she saw it as an opportunity to help her take her business to the next level. The program, funded by Goldman Sachs, is an eleven week course designed to help stimulate jobs and economic opportunity by providing entrepreneurs across the country with education, financial capital and business support services. She says that the program, while intense, has challenged her to evaluate her business from every angle, and energized her in all aspects of her job.
That enthusiasm is contagious, not only to those hearing her speak about the program and her experience, but to everyone on her team. “I come back to work after a class, and we start evaluating how we do things based on what I’ve learned,” says Hauser. “Our 90 minute strategic planning meeting turns into a three-and-a-half hour collaboration on how we are going to apply this to The Hauser Group.”
The Hauser Group has been in business for 25 years, and is a full-service firm, specializing in interior design, project management, and construction management. Their subsidiary organization, Environments That Work, provides furniture sourcing and enables them to customize their client services to fit their needs.
While the company has managed projects amounting to over $37 million in 2011, Hauser stresses that they can also help a business with as little as 1,500 square feet of space with an office remodel. “Our office solutions provide a return to our clients by saving them money and increasing productivity, so our services really pay for themselves,” said Hauser. The Hauser Group consults with businesses to help them make fiscally responsible decisions regarding real estate, relocation or consolidation. They help businesses get the most from their space, manage all aspects of the project, and can even manage new construction from start to finish.
When asked about what’s next for The Hauser Group, Mara Hauser is optimistic. “We have several opportunities for growth, and the 10,000 Small Businesses program is helping define the best path for us, which is exciting.” Practicing what she tells her clients, Hauser says “You always have to have an eye on the future."
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