Archive for April, 2012

The Officeless Office

According to this article in the Wall Street Journal, corporate America is warming up to the idea of the “officeless office”. Most companies, large and small,  are looking for new ways to cut costs and increase efficiency, and many have been able to do that by moving some of their more mobile workers out of dedicated offices or cubicles and into unassigned workspaces or “non-territorial offices”.

According to a survey of 950 companies, the International Facility Management Association  found 60 % had some unassigned workspaces in their offices and about half said the number of employees using the unassigned  space had increased the past two years.

Shared workspace allows organizations to shrink the amount of square footage they need while reducing the costs for both real estate and business equipment such as furniture.  Furniture manufacturers have seen this trend coming for several years now and have rolled out innovative new products to support these areas. Work tables allow employees to “bench” while personal files and tables with casters (small wheels) give workers more flexibility and control over their space.

Another unexpected benefit to the shared workspace is that many workers report feeling more connected to their colleagues. That might be reason enough to consider the officeless office.

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Is the New Thing in Conference Room Seating No Chair at All?

The stand-up meeting is a growing trend, especially in technology and creative organizations where sit-down meetings are often seen as unproductive and a waste of time.

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Rachel Silverman writes:

Stand-up meetings are part of a fast-moving tech culture in which sitting has become synonymous with sloth. The object is to eliminate long-winded confabs where participants pontificate, play Angry Birds on their cellphones or tune out…

Holding meetings standing up isn’t new. Some military leaders did it during World War I, according to Allen Bluedorn, a business professor at the University of Missouri. A number of companies have adopted stand-up meetings over the years. Mr. Bluedorn did a study back in 1998 that found that standing meetings were about a third shorter than sitting meetings and the quality of decision-making was about the same.

The current wave of stand-up meeting is being fueled by the growing use of “Agile,” an approach to software development, crystallized in a manifesto published by 17 software professionals in 2001. The method calls for compressing development projects into short pieces. It also involves daily stand-up meetings where participants are supposed to quickly update their peers with three things: What they have done since yesterday’s meeting; what they are doing today; and any obstacles that stand in the way of getting work done.

For most organizations, there are times when it works best to sit down and communicate, but there are other times when a stand-up meeting might be faster and more productive as well.

Call or email us today if you’d like to talk about your conference room.

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