Key considerations for workplace design and flexible working arrangements
Why do you go to work every day, and why travel somewhere at all? Is it necessarily the best place to perform the tasks your organization requires of you? What is the best way to design a workplace? How can flexible and work-from-home arrangements be effective for an organization? These and many similar questions are addressed by Guy Clapperton and Philip Vanhoutte in their book The Smarter Working Manifesto: When, Where and How Do You Work Best?
The authors discuss in some detail the differing needs for work space zones for focused individual work, group discussions and presentations, contemplation, and face-to-face communication. Acoustic design is a very important although frequently neglected consideration. There are many work space types to choose from, including quiet rooms, quiet areas, collaboration areas, social hubs, inspiring spaces, neutral ground, transition spaces, and home or hotel rooms.
Although some organizations have adopted a virtual model of working, some form of physical workspace is, in the opinion of the authors, crucial for most businesses. Home-working has been made increasingly possible by broadband networks and technology, but technology alone is not sufficient to enable an effective virtual organization; some complex human re-engineering is also required.
Most managers would prefer to leave issues of workplace design to architects, and get on with running their businesses. However, management is about managing people, and workplace design, particularly in the context of telecommuting and flexible work arrangements, is increasingly a key people issue. In my view this book, although it is not as neatly structured as I would have liked, is a very useful resource.