Digital Systems Blog

Dynamic, Adaptable Workspace that Inspires Workers

Commercial Lighting OSRAMTechnology and globalization have altered the way we work forever.  Many organizations aim to offer employees the ability to work wherever, whenever and however they desire.  To support that flexibility, companies are developing dynamic, adaptable workspace to accommodate the changing needs of their workers.

Activity-Based Working and Office Hoteling

Activity-based working is an office utilization method that is getting a lot of traction. No employee ‘owns’ a space or has a designated workstation but instead moves across different locations during their workday. Workers are provided a variety of workspace options for specific activities including structured meetings, informal assemblies, private work, and personal time. Different areas have a range of environmental options such as lighting, seating choices, and available technology, giving employees the freedom and choice to select a suitable work setting that fits their workstyle and task. 

When employees need a workstation or desk for a set period of time, they dynamically schedule their workspace using a system known as office hoteling. Hoteling is reservation-based unassigned seating and works well for workers that travel frequently or are typically remote. This encourages people to move around the workspace and decide where and how they work to maximize their productivity and comfort levels. Since they are not tethered to a particular desk or office, they instead work from different spots within the space depending on their activities or personal needs. In addition to reducing office space, companies have cited better workforce collaboration and the flexibility to adapt quickly to changing market and customer demands.

These adaptable workspaces inspire learning, focusing, socialization, innovation, and collaboration between departments, groups and teams.   Companies who embrace activity-based working find they have the flexibility to adapt quickly to changing market and customer demands.

Supporting Remote Workers While in the Office

Gallup's State of the American Workplace report uncovered that 43% of employees (up from 39% four year’s previously) work remotely in some capacity.  The finance, insurance and real estate industries experienced the greatest surge in time spent working remotely, followed by the manufacturing and construction, transportation, and retail industries.   

With this increase in working remotely, most organizations no longer need individual office spaces for every employee.  Some companies provide touchdown spaces for employees that only sporadically come into the office, while others find hoteling works for them. PricewaterhouseCoopers recently converted all of their US offices into open layout co-working spaces with no assigned desks in an effort to improve productivity among millennial employees.

Spaces that Support Collaboration and Encourage Unplanned Interactions

Social spaces that spur face-to-face communication with other people are being incorporated as research suggests their importance in innovation and performance. 

According to Gensler’s U.S. Workplace Survey 2016, innovators are five times more likely to have workplaces that prioritize both individual and group workspace. They spend less time at their desks, instead collaborating and socializing from conference rooms, open meeting areas, and café spaces.  The study indicates that workplace design has a direct impact on employee innovation and creativity.   

Some companies are even building unique spaces that encourage unplanned interactions with employees. According to an Harvard Business Review (HBR) article , when Steve Jobs was planning a new headquarters for Pixar, he famously located the large central bathrooms in the building’s atrium, requiring employees to walk some distance to use the facilities—but creating unplanned “collisions” meant to spark innovation.

However, collision spaces often don’t have the interruption-free space required for innovating and problem-solving.  Intimate huddle areas with a combination of seating spaces, screens and white boards offer options for group brainstorming sessions and individual focused work.

Designing to Attract and Retain Talent

Tech companies and other businesses are using innovative office designs with unique features to help them tap into competitive pools of high-tech talent. 

For example, email and data security company Mimecast recently moved to a new 79,000 square feet home office in Lexington, Massachusetts.  According to the company, the extra space enables them to expand the perks offered to employees such as: an open work environment, free gourmet lunch 4-days a week, covered parking, a gym, and a 1,600-foot roof deck. Additionally, the building has a sustainable design with features including a rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system, which generates 21 percent less energy than a typical building.

At consultant marketplace provider Catalant’s office in the Fort Point section of Boston they are reported to have a wellness room, where employees can sit in the dark and take naps for up to 30 minutes. They also boast “The Library,” a quiet zone where no phone calls or conversations are allowed.

As the workforce changes, office typologies will continue to evolve to meet their requirements endeavoring to inspire creativity, innovation and productivity.

Learn more about how adaptable workspaces are  accommodating the changing needs of their workers.

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Topics: Trends, Smart Building App