Entries Tagged as 'Office Space Design'
Having looked at office space re-imaging recently, you may be wondering why businesses of all sizes are joining into this emerging trend. Let’s delve into the reasons that re-imaging is occurring and why it help business productivity and profits.
The main drivers behind this trend is the rapid advances in technology and employee retention. Twenty years ago, employees were “chained” to their desks in order to perform their jobs. Telephones had wires and what could be done with computers was limited to the desk. Therefore, employees arrived at the office and spent most, if not all, of their workdays sitting at their desk.
Today, laptop computers with wi-fi capability, cell phones that connect to the internet and provide video chat capability, personal data devices with applications which allow them to perform much like a personal computer, wireless internet availability, and easy to use video conferencing tools allow an employee to perform tasks no matter where they happen to be. While use of this technology should not be performed in a moving vehicle, almost any other location can be used as a virtual office. No longer are team members restricted to interacting with clients and co-workers from their assigned desk in a boring cubicle.
The second major driver behind the re-imaging of office space revolves around employee satisfaction. Sitting at a desk limits creativity and by the end of the day, the staff members go home without feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction. The physical constraints of being forced to perform all tasks at a desk in a rather boring office or cubicle takes a toll on the body and mind.
The freedom to work in any location in the business campus or building or even choose to work outdoors in the sunshine provides staff members with a feeling of freedom and accomplishment. Interfacing with other team members is easy and the ability to interface with clients and suppliers around the globe without having to leave family and home saves the employee time and the business lots of money. While traveling to see clients and suppliers face-to-face is sometimes important, as well as lots of fun for all parties, it is no longer necessary to travel so extensively to accomplish day-to-day business. No longer are meetings restricted to conference rooms. Some of the most productive meetings may occur in the lounge, cafeteria, coffee break area, or in the hallways. The possibilities are limitless and differing work types no longer must be inhibited.
The third major driver behind the re-imaging of offices is basically the bottom line. Profits drive the way business is conducted and having seen that new work methods provide major pluses employers see the potential provided by changing the face of office space. Today, business owners seek any reasonable means to overcome the competition and take advantage of better and more effective ways to conduct business. Re-imaging the office is just one of the ways that is proving to be effective in so many ways.
Next, we’ll look at practical ways that any business can begin the re-imaging process.
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Flexible Workspace , Office Space Design , Virtual Office Space
For decades office space has pretty much remained the same. The top executives resided in enclosed offices with windows and doors while most of the staff members worked in cubicles. While the layout improved over the years with ergonomic advances, the basic layout and work style of offices remained more or less static.
Now that we are in the 21st Century, office space is being re-imaged completely by many businesses and the re-invention of the office is proving to be more productive. Office work styles are changing radically, driving some of these changes.
The last few decades have also experienced workers who remained with a business for a few years, then moving into other positions of higher levels in competing companies. Many businesses accepted this style of employment because few employees remained long enough to earn a pension and the associated costs. However, the cost of locating and training quality employees was very high and the experience factor that was lost began to cost many companies in the long run. This, too, drives the re-imaging of office space.
Silicon Valley was the first area in which non-traditional office spaces began to emerge. Google is a prime example of one of the first businesses to re-image their office space. Instead of a bullpen full of cubicles, workers have desks and equipment in
communities where those who work on similar projects can easily brainstorm at any time. If someone needs a few minutes to think in a quiet area, there are plenty of unique locations to do so, such as a large bathtub full of pillows facing a wall of aquariums. While some meetings are held around a table with chairs, employees have options to meet in comfortable lounges with comfortable furnishings or outdoors. Areas for recreation are provided; including video game stations, a top of the line cafeteria and the entire area has data access so anyone can use their laptops anywhere they wish. If someone needs to go to the far side of the Googleplex, as it is known, they can jump on one of the readily available bicycles which can be used in the wide hallways or outdoors.
It may seem as if the re-invention of an office into this new style would cut productivity. The reverse has proven true, as the huge profits generated by the employees of Google has proven. Employee satisfaction is extremely high, making team members want to produce. Benefits and freedom to work in whatever style is preferred by the team members generates strong employee loyalty, reducing turnover so that training and experience is maximized.
This re-invention of office space looks and feels very radical at first, but when you think of how people really work and where their ideas are generated, it makes perfect sense. Seldom do cutting edge ideas emerge from a single person. Usually they occur when people are interfaces, chatting over a cup of coffee, or brainstorming together. Why should they be forced relegated to cubicles where they face barriers to communication and contact with others?
Google’s solution to what an office space should be and how it should functions has let other corporations, both large and small, to adopt changes which improve human contact and happiness. It has long been known that happy employees are loyal, trustworthy, and extremely productive. While unhappy employees may produce, many ideas that could earn millions in profit never come to light. The confinement inherent to traditional office space layouts is radically changing and your business may find that re-inventing all or part of your office space may increase productivity and employee satisfaction.
Having looked at one office re-invention, our next post on this topic will delve deeper into the drivers of office space re-invention. Then we will look at ways to apply these concepts to your own workspace.
More bolg posts on Office Space Design
Flexible Workspace , Office Space Design , Silicon Valley Office Space
There has been talk for many years about the changing workforce and how to best provide office space to the emerging knowledge workers. Office space is usually the second biggest line item expense for businesses after salaries. It is a big deal if a company can reduce their office space needs. Many small business are using a variety of options top cut their costs. Theses include co-working space, virtual office space and executive suites on as as needed basis. Larger businesses are starting to get into the concept with hot desking or desk by reservation systems that allow workers to reserve a desk in an office on an as needed basis.
One of those companies doing so is IBM. They realized that on any given day the traditional office was anywhere from 40% - 60% empty with employees out doing business.
So IBM took a drastic step. With a desk-sharing scheme, and by allowing employees to work remotely, they reduced their downtown Toronto office space by 40 per cent consolidating three offices into two in a pilot program over the past few years. The company has even devised a reservation system that employees use to book desks from the office or online, and soon from their BlackBerrys.
IBM is now a workspace “evangelist,” leading other companies on office tours.
“Now people are enabled to work three days a week instead of five days,” says Brodie, who works from his Uxbridge home and goes to his Markham office only for meetings. The Markham office, IBM's Canadian headquarters, houses software development, services professionals, sales and corporate marketing, and the bulk of the employee base.
“Young talent expects to work this way. Older folks want to ‘retire' to the cottage and work from there.”
It is trend that is starting to gain momentum. Businesses end up with happy employees and reduced overhead for office space. What's not to like.
For more information on the future of the workplace see The 21st Century Office Space
Flexible Workspace , Office Space , Office Space Design
An office cubicle is a small space that is divided with partitions to give privacy to the employee without having to spend a lot of money on adding walls for an office. The space is generally very small with little room to spare for anything extra. The partitions serve to allow the employee the privacy they crave without being face to face with everyone else in the office throughout the day. Cubicles are very effective in helping the employee feel as though they have their own space. It is like having a mini-office with no door.
Office cubicles are effective because the employee is given what they need and the employer doesn’t have to spend unnecessary funds to build walls that would only make the office space seem even smaller than it already is. Office space can be hard to come by when a business begins to grow. More and more employees are hired and the available office space has already been filled.
Cubicle space has been effective because it makes the office area look more professional than a lot of desks sitting in the middle of the floor. The design of the overall office looks more organized and “together” when cubicles are added. This is just one of the important ways in which office cubicles are effective.
Employees like the idea of having their own space as well. When someone works in an office, they want to know that they are able to have some sense of privacy. The privacy afforded by the use of cubicles may not be premium, but it is far better than the alternative. There are no doors on the cubicle to keep people from entering, but if someone enters the space, everyone else will know whether or not they are supposed to be there. That makes cubicles important simply because they keep the belongings of the person who works in it a little safer from theft and other possible issues that might occur.
Cubicles allow each person to have their own locker and filing cabinets as well. This is an effective way to store paperwork that doesn’t go in the main files. Without cubicles, the employees desk becomes overwhelmed with paperwork that can’t be thrown away but must be kept. Cubicles are effective in keeping the office as a whole organized. Organization is one of the most important things in an office and cubicles are effective in keeping the office space neat and clean.
People often complain about cubicles being too small or too confining. The truth is, office cubicles make a big difference in how these same people feel when they come to work in the morning. It makes them feel as though they have their own place in the office. The worker’s that complain about their cubicles would be flabbergasted if their cubicle was taken away and they were thrown into the middle of the office with a bunch of other desks with no privacy or storage space. Be thankful for the effective cubicle you work in each day.
Flexible Workspace , Office Space , Office Space Design
Nasdaq 4/30/10 - Corporate America has 25-50% more space than it actually needs, particularly as tenants move toward more open floor plans, more staff work remotely and companies reduce costs by cutting the amount of space allocated per person. That's the view of Howard Ecker , president of Chicago-based tenant representation firm Howard Ecker & Associates . "Companies have gone from offices to cubicles and now they are going to benching," he said.
Space per person has been in the news lately, with Goldman Sachs reducing its space per person from 228 to 178 square feet and famously putting a number of less-senior executives in internal offices without windows when it moved to its new headquarters building in New York. But Goldman isn't the only one. Over the years, law firms have gone from 750 square feet per lawyer to 500. "They are now going down below that," Ecker said. Advertizing agencies once had 250 square feet per person and now have less than 100, he added.
Bob Stella , president of New York-based tenant representation firm Cresa Partners , said more companies have staff that telecommute or use hoteling, where more than one staffer uses the same workspace. "All companies are looking at ways to be more efficient. It's possible to create a great working environment and do it with less space," he added. "You can virtually be working on your laptop from home and perform a lot of the same tasks."
Although the office market isn't there yet, Ecker believes that changing demographics will have the biggest impact on office space needs and cited the emergence of the Echo Boomers, or the Millenials, who are entering the workforce. "Four percent of the workplace is 65 and older and 50% is 45 and under. As they disappear and younger people start to make decisions, the complexion of the office environment will change," he said. "The younger the decision maker, the less space they will take."
In an extreme case, the need for less space could ultimately stamp out new office development, Ecker said. "If we have 25-50% more space than we need, why build another office building? A lot of people say they have to be in new buildings because they are more efficient. But new buildings aren't inherently more efficient," he said. Finally, using less space is also a much greener option. "Green is a really big issue today. The U.S. government can't lease space in a building that isn't LEED certified and they are leading the charge into efficiency," he said. "The greenest thing that can be done is to use less space."
Green Office , Office Rental , Office Space , Office Space Design