Unassigned Work Environments

More and more companies are adding in some unassigned work spaces to their environment. Coming from the old thought where you owned your space, filled it with personal pictures and tried to make it feel like home, this can be a confusing change for some people.

Think about it like this, if you spent a whole day working from home would you sit in one chair for 8 hours? The answer is probably no. If it’s nice outside, maybe you check your emails on the deck with a cup of coffee, then do some heads down work at a desk, and finally you find a comfortable lounge chair to read through a long document. There is a lot of work that is best done, not sitting at your desk.

Companies are trying to accommodate their employees’ desire for flexibility and options. With more places to perform different kinds of work, companies are also considering having less assigned spaces. In 2015, 58% of companies said they had increased the number of people working in “unassigned” or “collective use” spaces, according to a survey of companies by the International Facility Management Association, a trade organization for those who operate office spaces.

So what is right for your company? Just like open concepts, sit to stand desks, and collaborative spaces, the answer is: there’s not a one size fits all solution. It depends on your culture. For instance, if you culture leads your employees to believe that management will think they are not working if they aren’t at their desk, adding a bunch of furniture to provide “options” will not matter. They will never get used because no one wants to get fired. The culture has to be clearly defined from the top down and then the best solution can be identified. Your company culture and vision could still be aligned with a traditional 100% owned environment and there is nothing wrong with that. There are still ways to freshen up your environment and provide more collaborative elements to appeal to the growing workforce that is the millennials. Your company culture and vision might be somewhere in the middle and an environment that supports 50% owned and 50% shared could be perfect.

If you are interested in the idea of adding options and flexibility to your office, but are unsure what is best, talk with your workplace partners and get help identifying what will work for you so that you don’t waste a bunch of money trying to adapt to something that is not a good fit for your group.

One thing I can assure you, the idea of employee well-being and health is not a trend. That mindset is what’s driving a need for options, flexibility and sit to stand desks. That’s what started the idea of getting up, moving around and finding different spots for different types of work. Now you just need to decide what makes sense for your team.

Posted on April 7, 2016 in Collaboration, Workplace Strategy

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