From cubicles to open plan and back again, from clear desk to hot desk, from working in the same team to working in multiple teams. The office work place has been in a constant state of change since the office was invented.
Organisations have tried to provide spaces that drive productivity; but the challenge today is the ever-increasing range of work and working styles.
One person’s productivity is another’s distraction
Companies like Google amongst others have spent a lot of time and money designing grand buildings that are eye catching and contain a host of features designed to enable their staff to be productive, creative and collaborative at the same time.
The function of these spaces even stretch beyond ‘work’ – offering leisure facilities, crèches and relaxation. These spaces fundamentally stretch the role of the office – embracing all aspects of life that can both enable or limit productivity with quiet desk pods and collaborative workspaces as important as sofas, gyms and kitchens.
How to create the right environment?
For those without the space or resources of Google, priority calls have to be made, and consequently some of what makes an office space useful is reduced. What if, instead of walking into a static work place every day, you could turn it into the right space for the day or even hour just like walking into a holodeck (http://www.startrek.com/database_article/holodeck ) in Star Trek.
The reality of this future is far closer than you think
There are an increasing number of options for flexible environments that can help, here’s a couple that have caught my attention:
- Everblock systems create modular designs that can be built and re-built continuously using oversized Lego. One minute it can create entire rooms, with walls included – the next it can be broken down into segments. Imagine hot desking where you can literally take your desk with you and attach it to your new team's area of a whiteboard that you can expand, deconstruct and move elsewhere. Want some privacy today? Just build yourself a room.
- Roombots have made programmable robots that can combine to make furniture and other pre-set configurations at the touch of a button. This makes the whole process automatic and easy but less creative at the point of change.
Here in the Accelerated Solutions Environment (ASE) we firmly believe in creating the right environment to solve each problem we’re given. No problem is exactly the same so it makes no sense to attempt to solve it in the exact same environment. The holodeck may not be here yet but that doesn't have to stop us from having a flexible office today.