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Where Is Your ‘Best Place’ in the Office?

It’s always interesting to hear what one executive has to say to others about upcoming office design trends. Steelcase president Jim Keane shares his thoughts in Issue #63 of 360 Research about “Why CEOS Are Paying Attention” to the “Next Office”. As you might imagine, Chief Executive Officers are always looking for ways to make shareholders happy (unless they are busy getting fitted for gold parachutes). For the last couple of decades, there’s been a lot of scrutiny on “employee engagement” and leveraging the power of the workforce. Now, executives are starting to realize that your workers are only as productive as their workspace allows them to be. So, the office as a concept is going through some serious changes to support the way employees do their jobs today.

The High Performance Office

The Steelcase article focuses on two key areas where change adds business value. This isn’t just about squeezing more people into a smaller space to save on commercial real estate costs (although that is one approach). It’s also not about targeting one or two markers of employee satisfaction – a sure way to make some people happy and some grumpy. Instead, this is about transforming office space design to support current work styles and to actually help create the kind of corporate culture that will increase profitability.

Where Do Your Workers Want to Be?

Collaboration and agility are the buzzwords for this research piece. These two concepts go hand in hand. Providing multiple types of workspace and reducing the number of permanently assigned workstations creates an atmosphere where people can mix it up more and where space can be allocated and reconfigured on an as-needed basis. Hot-desking where any worker can sit down and perform at any workstation is one obvious example. However, it can result in an environment where every work area is exactly the same. Offices need to have different types of space so employees can gravitate to where they feel most comfortable on a given day or for a given task. Not every organization will have its own trendy cafeteria, but most can at least rearrange or replace some office furniture to offer both private and open work areas.

How do you plan to expand work environment choices to create options and “Best Places” for your employees in 2013? Let us know in the comments.


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