Cisco Systems conducted a study in 2017 that observed and analyzed the movements of its workers in various facilities. The company concluded that employees worked much differently than they did just a few years prior. The traditional 9-5 shifts were no longer the norm due to the company’s global and telecommuting workforce. Individual cubicles were empty 65% of the time observed, while meeting rooms and other common areas were the preferred choices for workers to complete their duties.
Cisco decided to ditch its traditional setup and build a “connected workplace” based on employee needs and patterns. The results were not only extremely beneficial to the company (37% cost savings on rent, 50% on furniture, 40% on IT capital), but also to employees who reported being happy with the variety of workspaces available to them.
Granted Cisco is a multinational company with nearly $50 billion in total revenues in 2018. But the company created a blueprint for smaller businesses to accommodate the ever-changing needs of employees and stakeholders with vested interests in the bottom lines.
A 2018 Global Workplace Analytics study found that upwards of 90% of office workers prefer to telecommute at least 2-3 days per week. Further, employees are typically away from their desks up to 60% of the time at work. The data is conclusive - workers in the 21st century prefer mobility and variety versus being stuck at a cubicle for eight hours per day.
The simplest and least expensive way to start updating your office with the current trends is adding a few standing desks. This allows workers to step away from their cubicles and get the blood flowing, all while completing their assigned tasks. Add one or two standing desks and monitor their usage. If they are utilized at high rates, add a few more.
Add additional office seating to break rooms and other common areas. The idea is to provide as many workspaces as possible in a variety of settings to accommodate the mobility trends in office settings.
Private offices, beyond those for C-level executives and senior management, are fast becoming a thing of the past. But some level of privacy is still needed in certain situations.
Office partitions are a great way to create semi-private workspaces, while also maintaining flexibility. Since the partitions (mobile walls) are not permanently affixed, new areas of the office can be designated as semi-private areas as often as you'd like. Some offices use one partition in corners to create individual workspaces. Others use folding partitions in the middle of wide-open spaces. Regardless the spaces are not fully enclosed and thus preserve the open office feel.
Another idea is partitioning large meeting rooms into smaller spaces with movable walls. These areas could be home to your new standing desks or just spaces with plenty of power outlets and network connectivity that provide workers more options.
Traditional cubicles were the norm for most of the 20th century. The open office layout became the new norm in the last couple decades. But workers are not necessarily fond of either layout and its up to you to determine the right balance for your workforce.
Project managers at Office.eco have extensive experience in this area and can help you create the workspace that is just right for your company culture. Contact us today to start transforming your office from stagnant to flexible.