Friday, January 16, 2009

the office as a tool 1.1

Continuing with the scan of Michael Brill's short booklet The Office as a Tool he starts to look at what is driving the current climate of change. The office has historically gone through time when the idea of the workplace has changed. So what does he see as driving change now?

  • Globalization driving long or eratic work hours and the environment to support that.
  • Increased concern with worker productivity, and the measurement of the same.
  • The emergence of effectiveness as a sort of better measure of success than productivity.
  • Competition driving innovation.
  • The effort to exploit market niches, or opportunities, requiring organizations to be more nimble, typically through the ability to rapidly respond using quickly organized teams or groups.
  • Downsizing and decentralized organizations of businesses.
  • The mixing of product workers and office workers in an effort to make administrative and production mindsets aware of one another.
  • Flattening of hierarchy, and hence the hierarchy of the kinds of spaces in the workplace.
  • Value of workers shifting to knowledge and away from tasks, and along with it the emphasis on the importance of the top performers.
  • Along with increase in value of employee, comes value of out of work life of employees, and the effort to accommodate or included it in the workplace.
  • Everything becoming faster, more info rich, technology changing rapidly - he actually refers to cabling here. You know recabling an office could be a nightmare, so much so wireless really sounded like a pipe dream!
  • New office construction, old office renovation, moving out of the city to the suburbs, moving out of the suburbs to the city..!
  • Pressure for facilities to perform better as tools - hey, where have we read that line..
  • Erosion of middle sized companies, dominance of big companies, and proliferation of small ones.
  • More self awareness and examination of how the workplace is working.
  • More awareness of the office as a tool for the factors discussed in the last post - enhancing performance, projecting image, retaining valuable employees.
  • Shift from offices composed of open+private workstations to ones with a greater mix of situations ranging from public to private.

That covered a lot of ground. At some level this seems to be addressing large corporate organizations, but the lessons and ideas here are relevant to the smallest offices. Can you add any changes putting pressures on the workplace to this list?

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