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Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Shifting Into Shared Workspaces

More and more people are having to say goodbye to their cubicles.  It is becoming increasingly common for office workers –especially those who spend a lot of time on the road or outside of the office—to be introduced to “unassigned workspaces”. 

These unassigned workspaces are open to several employees and used on an as-needed basis.  Instead of storing personal items or work materials at your desk, each employee would be allotted a locker to hold their belongings, and desks can either be reserved in advance, or may function on a first-come first-served basis. 
Prominent companies who have made the move into shared workspaces include:  AMEX, GlaxoSmithKline, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.  They all report that making the move has pushed people to efficiently use space and that company costs have drastically been reduced.
Shared workspaces are by no means ideal for each and every employee.  People who are introduced to the system from the get-go usually have no problem adapting to this type of environment, but people who were forced to transition from having their own space to a shared space have had a harder time adapting.  Feelings like identity-loss (by not being able to personalize their own space) and loss of organization (by having to set-up anew each time) are very common.
Although not everyone may like them, I believe they will continue to grow in popularity.  If you are a company who relies heavily on cloud-computing, shared workspaces may be the perfect solution for saving you some money and some space. 

3 comments:

  1. I am a recent graduate and have just begun working in a "shared workspace". I have no problem with it all. I don't need trinkets and baubles crowding my desk. By having a communal space everything is always clean and I can come and go easily without being bothered. I am definitely a fan of the shared workspace!

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  2. I admit, the lack of a stable desk space doesn't resonate with me at all. My team is now spread out, sometimes on different floors, and I am now doing a lot less "management by walking around". Get togethers now seem much more formal (they have to be planned to get a space to meet). The spontaneity has died and our team morale is suffering. They miss the camradering of sitting together and bouncing ideas off one another. I know that we can still do it through IM, but it's not the same as face-to-face.

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