With a growing understanding between the correlation between space and productivity, designers and major companies are now working together to maximise the potential of office spaces and make the daily grind a little more palatable to workers.
While this has been executed in a number of ways that raise the Indoor Environmental Quality – such as optimising natural light, increasing the air quality by implementing low-VOC-based materials and including lush interior plant life – the social element that evolves from interior office layout is increasingly playing a part in the efficiency of workplaces.
While the office has traditionally been seen as a quiet space where employees are limited to dank cubicles, a new working and design orientation is dramatically changing up this notion and reaping great rewards.
This practice is an implementation of interior design layouts and features that cater to Activity-Based Working (ABW).
Described by Robert Hitchcock of GTP Group as creating a ‘library-like atmosphere,’ ABW diverts away from offices and cubicle spaces, and allows employees to do their work wherever they need to be for any given task.
This includes creating a far more open-concept planned office layout that revolves around tasks instead of the employee.
Implementing this plan at its headquarters, GTP cites its reliance on mobile technology as key to maintaining this uniquely modern working environment.
GTP is not alone in transferring to a ABW working environment. KPMG digital economy partner Malcolm Alder explains the importance of this kind of collaborative and task focused design in developing efficient office spaces of the future as his company plans to implement the design plan into its new office in Barangaroo.
“The general feedback from other ABW companies seems to be pretty positive and there are a lot of people looking at those who are leading in those spaces,” says Alder. “Whilst we don’t do things just to be ‘me too’, if that is the way the future workplace is going to look, then to a certain level you do need to be marching to a similar beat to major clients.”
There are associated issues with the new office planning strategy, including possible resentment by executives having to give up private offices and the potential for the development of ‘corporate kinders‘. However, with so many major companies switching to this working lifestyle, including global giants such as Microsoft and Google, the potential success rate is also apparent.