In pre-millennium days, office workspace design was pretty straightforward. Each employee had a dedicated office or cubicle, access to boardrooms or meeting rooms, and a common room to go to for breaks and lunch.
The office floor plan has evolved considerably since then. Today, according to the Staples Business Advantage Workplace Employee Survey, only 23% of those who work in offices work in closed environments that are predominantly offices and cubicles. The remaining 77% work in open or semi-open environments where much or most of the floor space is dedicated to open, barrier-free seating arrangements.
The transition has not been without growing pains. While 69% claim that they are able to work efficiently in their workspace, there is significant concern about the 31% who replied negatively to this question.
Varied requirements create a bit of a conundrum for office planners. On one hand, 22% claim that the design of their office space makes it difficult to interact with others. On the other, 25% claim that their office space is too open, while 39% working in open environments claim that the design of the office space creates distractions.
These concerns are being addressed by a new concept called agile office – a vision that Staples Business Advantage Canada has been introducing to a growing number of customers. In an agile environment, employees, instead of working in a dedicated office or cubicle, can move to different workspaces depending on the kind of work they are doing.
For example, an employee could conduct a team meeting in an open-plan project space, write up a report in a quiet booth, speak with a supplier in a telephone conversation space, and on the way out of the office, retrieve personal items from a locker.
Agility seating is getting high marks from employees, with 70% claiming that being able to work in different settings deepens their connection to their employer. While it’s clearly impossible to please everybody 100% of the time, matching the workspace to the work being done appears to be an excellent way to cope with the diverse needs of today’s office workers.
For more workplace trends visit https://www.staplesbusinessadvantage.ca/workplace-employee-survey/ to download our full Staples Employee Workplace Survey report.