How BST planned out a new office suited for the future of hybrid work
In November, BST & Co. CPAs will move into a new 25,000-square-footoffice in Latham at 10 British American Blvd.
Managing partner Ron Guzior said hybrid work changed what the company looked for in a new office space and how it was designed to best fit their needs. About 40% to 50% of the CPA firm's employees on any given day are working remotely or on-site with clients.
"We're trying to adapt, keep and grow our culture while understanding today's work environment is different today than it was 10 years ago or four years ago and it will be different 10 years from now," Guzior said. "We tried to be flexible depending on which way trends go and tried to be leading edge."
The shift to a hybrid workplace has changed what companies need and want out of the office.
Guzior cited nearby walking trails, large windows with natural light and the ability to all be on one floor as reasons for the company to invest in a new office space. The office will feature an open floor plan and nontraditional work areas. The space will include a cafeteria, training room, library, comfy seating areas and a coworking space for staff who work on-site fewer than three days per week.
The CPA firm worked with Zac Conley , managing principal of Cresa Albany, on the lease and fit-up of the space.
BST had been based at 26 Computer Drive West, near Wolf Road, since 1985. The company's lease was coming up at the end of 2022, and Guzior said they wanted to have an office in a more park-like setting on one floor with large windows.
"We told our existing landlords we were going to move and started a process," Guzior said. "We’re currently in 30,000 square feet over three floors. We wanted to be on one floor. That was the primary driver. And this [current] building was built not too many years after the energy crisis. It has small windows and not a ton of natural light."
In February 2021, BST hired Cresa to start the process of finding anew office.
It started with a workplace planning and design process where BST evaluated its current space and came up with a conceptual design of what a floor plan could look like. That was followed by surveys and focus groups with Cresa and BST's employees.
Last year, Cresa came back with 25 possible sites for the new office. BST toured 12 of those offices and sent out requests for proposals to four. The company signed a lease with British American in the spring and construction started in July.
"Our rent is less, so we are saving on our rent costs," Guzior said." There’s a lot of office space available. We got approached by landlords, so that felt good, people wanted us and we ended up in a great spot."
The office at 10 British American features BST's own lobby, separate from other tenants in the building, and a suite to serve clients of Affinity BST Advisors, the firm’s wealth management division. The cafeteria has a folding wall to the training room to allow for larger events. There are 29 private offices and 52 workstations. The coworking space will allow hybrid employees to reserve a spot for a day — or an hour — if they're coming into the office.
If all 115 of BST's employees wanted to come in to work in the office on any given day, Guzior said everyone would have a seat.
"We will get some more growth of people being in the office,"Guzior said, "but it still won't be what it was prior to the pandemic."
by Chelsea Diana
Albany Business Review