Office design changes

Can the benefits of an open office design benefit established enterprises as much as it seems to drive productivity in start-ups? A recent article from Accendor Research Inc. suggests just that.

For enterprises that truly want to benefit in the area of agility and teaming, a quick read and action can reap huge benefits.

We observed, for instance, one workgroup that rearranged their standard cubicles so that, instead of having a cluster of four served by a centre aisle with barrier walls to provide privacy, they opened the four up and created a centre meeting area with a round table. This group — technically oriented — wheeled up to the centre table and back to their “desks” at the margins of the space 10-15 times a day. (The lunch period, instead of being an “eat out” time, moved to become much more of an “eat in” session at the centre table, a mix of social time and “what have you heard” information sharing about industry news and developments.) This group was the parallel to the same function in another office: the other office made no such changes. Four people outperformed (quality and quantity of work) twelve in a more traditional setting: none of the four had ever been anything above a “satisfactory” performer before the change.

Today’s technology (wireless, VoIP, web conferencing and online collaborative spaces) allow anyone to work in the office environment that is suitable for the task. As office furniture is upgraded or offices relocated, fully reconfigurable offices should be high on the list.

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