Q: How long have you been in the industry?
A: I have been in the industry for a long time, but the exact number of years is a “trade secret”. I began my career as a designer at architectural firms and later transitioned into project management and account management in the furniture industry.
Q: Why did you join OFH?
A: I was initially inspired to join OFH because I enjoyed the organized, positive, and entrepreneurial spirit of the company. Also, I have always gravitated towards the smaller firms, where there is opportunity to wear many hats and do more interesting work.
Q: What excites you about being in the industry today?
A: I believe that we are at the cusp of an exciting boom in business. Employees are just coming out of COVID lock-down and are returning to the office, so there is a pent-up demand for people and also new ways of working together. Previously, many companies did not have the infrastructure to support these new working models or have the knowledge to allow their employees to be more flexible. I think we are seeing the beginning of what is going to be an extremely exciting couple of years, or longer.
Q: How do you see the office of tomorrow unfolding?
A: We are already in the office of tomorrow.
Five years ago, people who worked in a physical office space did not have the amount of flexibility that they have now. Post-Covid, we see that a lot of companies are comfortable with remote work and have built the technical infrastructure to support it.
We are doing business in a new way. There was an old school mentality that you had to physically be in an office to do work. And yes, sometimes you do have to physically be in certain places at certain times, but we have gotten savvy about communicating and staying on top of things together, keeping a flow of communication so that we do not have to always be physically present. I think that the experience of the COVID era has taught a lot of us how to be much better managers.
I also think that office design is trending toward a synthesis of open layouts and technology accommodations for hybrid and remote work, along with the added support of privacy-enhancing furniture elements.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I am currently managing eleven active projects. Four of those projects are for a banking firm that is expanding their New York offices and building new locations in Delray Beach and Miami. Outside of NYC, we have projects currently going on in Stamford, CT and Jericho, Long Island, and two more in New Jersey. It is exciting to see this boom in business, and it is a sign for good things to come.
Q: What challenges do you see the offices of today needing to overcome?
A: Offices today need to provide the infrastructure so that their employees have flexible means of working. That means both technical infrastructure and the education that goes with it. Remote and hybrid workers can get into a little bit of an isolated groove while working from home and it is easy to lose sight of each other. So, that means that we must keep communicating. I’m a great believer in face-front communication over texting and email, whether that be by TEAMS, Zoom or the phone.
I’ve also been reading in the New York Times that a lot of employees are choosing not to go back to their old office if they do not feel that it is a healthy space. They would choose to quit and go to another job if that new job feels like a safer place for them to drop their masks in. So, the main challenges I see is the need for a healthy office environment, good infrastructure, and good communication.
As Project Manager, Dave Fleck works directly with OFH CEO Marc Schwartzberg on large scale projects. Dave previously worked an architectural designer in New York and Atlanta, and has worked as a project manager for several aligned dealerships in the NYC metro region. Dave has longstanding experience in furniture, design and has handled some of the largest corporate accounts in NYC.