Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Workspace design for 2020

Last session today is about designing new office work spaces for the year 2020.

Research by Lilly
Replacing generic cube farm with multiple specialised spaces, has many benefits. Not sure if you can read this, but impressive findings.

Proximity makes the heart grow fonder. Best thing you can do, is put people together, co-location is best, but typically unachievable! Frequency of interpersonal communication drops exponentially as distance increases. Even on Facebook! The more people work together in a physical space, the more effective they are when working apart. Need to balance mobility and proximity.

Some case studies.
Citrix had goals including better support team innovation; more, faster, earlier collaboration; fewer silos.
Created large, glass walled space, transparent. Everything on wheels, no reservations, whiteboards used to separate areas. Kept under review, and constantly improved and made changes.

SEI had a set of values and wanted space to reflect them. Everyone got a desk on wheels, no offices, no personal phones, but team phones. Lined walls with contemporary art to invite creativity and debate.

How do you measure whether this sort of change has been successful? Have to measure, set up things to measure beforehand eg behaviours.

Other studies show that people in high visibility locations have 60% more interactions.
Need to provide oases of informal meeting space. 102% more interactions than in formal meeting rooms

Some best practice guidelines:
Need to design for activities, not roles.
Assume people move several times a day
Establish social conventions (. Eg it's OK to ask someone alone in a room to move for a meeting)
Measure results
Furniture should echo the space's purpose
Thick carpeting for quiet areas, thin for high traffic
Usual natural light, free flowing air and green rooms with living plants
Create zones and randomise in neighbourhoods
Put lockers in high traffic areas
Always have space not reserved
Create different kinds of space, "library" space for quiet working, huddle rooms, stand up meeting spaces.

Smart buildings are important, and it's not just about HVAC. It should know where you are and what you're doing. Also who you are, biometrics for access control and authentication.

Environmental and privacy issues need to be considered. The walls will have eyes and ears. Everything may be recorded. Systems will know your patterns and will be able to automatically schedule travel time.

We need to plan on the new PC area, personal cloud not personal computer. We will all use multiple devices, apps will be everywhere. Smart mobile devices will be pervasive, and there will be WiFi for everything, except maybe power. Don't want to cook people.

Lots of technology changes will affect workspace:
Touch interactive surfaces. Multiple displays per person. 3D gestures and voice controls. Active displays and monitored passive projection surfaces.
Video in meetings, multi point commodity video, eg Hangouts, for team meetings. Holodecks ( I think you have to be a Trekkie to understand this one).

Workspace best practices:
Adjustable dimensions for varied devices
Power at work surface
Controlled lighting to minimise glare on any device
Ergonomic chairs
Minimise noise propagation

Some cool stuff.
Self navigating robotic aides. Autonomous mobile assistants with contextual awareness and are able to adapt to environmental change and recognise individuals. MIT already have prototypes.

Paper consumption per capita in offices peaked in 2002 and has been dropping ever since. Tablets have made it drop even more. Set paper targets. Ban personal printers. Power and noise benefits. But make sure you have an informal oasis to replace the photocopier!

In summary, need to explore cultural, social relationships, behavioural objectives and business goals when designing workspaces.
Plan for the future, 2020 will be here soon.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

No comments: