If we think our work environments should evolve to recognize and leverage the mobility of today’s workforce and at the same time do a better job of supporting collaborative work…. We need to question the assumptions of the last 40 years….
A “traditional” office work environment designed with enclosed offices hugging the perimeter of the space and cubicles with panels high enough to block seeing anyone while you are sitting down are pushed to the interior. Meeting rooms are generally the only “collaborative space”.
A work environment more conducive to collaborative work might rethink seating in open studio environments to replace the cubicle. There are fewer assigned work spaces and less individual space. Technology is infused and not a tack on at the end. Technology is also very portable. The primary reason to go to the office becomes to work with other people face to face.
In comparing this new collaborative design with the traditional design……
Real estate footprint is decreased as is the installed infrastructure needed to support each employee
Focusing on a portable technology platform addresses the new normal of employee mobility
Provides for easily reconfigurable environments bettering enabling changes in teams and projects
We looked at only one element for this comparison: the traditional cubicle and how we might re-imagine what a workstation should be in a collaborative environment with a mobile workforce.
Traditional VS Collaborative Work Stations:
A traditional cubicle's purpose was to isolate office workers form the sights and sounds of an open workplace. the theory being that this allowed workers more privacy and to help them concentrate with less distractions. Unfortunately, the cubicles are often seen as symbolic of the human condition working in a modern corporation distinguished only by its uniform conformity and blandness. Cubicles were a poor man's answer to offices but also had the problem of promoting silo thinking, poor acoustics, and not encouraging teamwork.
The collaborative workstation was designed to provide a new, elastic, adn dynamic physical and technical infrastructure that not only enables but encourages collaboration. The mobile nature allows a user to reconfigure their workstation anywhere within the collaborative studio where power is available without involving facilities. Sit to stand adjustability along with task chair and fully articulating dual monitor arms allow for maximum user control. Research has proven that increased screen real estate leads to greater productivity which can be qualified monetarily. The dual 22" screens also act as 'productive privacy' to shield users from distractions. A single USB connection to power the dual screens from a laptop is another example of the seamless integration of technology and furniture to create an optimum working experience.
Our concept for the new collaborative workstation was shaped in large part by the following design drivers…
All components are “off the shelf” Nothing
was to be specially designed
The primary computer used is a laptop
There is no telephony other than VoIP
through the computer and mobile devices
The required real estate footprint had to
decrease substantively (minimum of 20%)
Technology was designed into the
workstation and not just added on .
The workstations could be easily
reconfigured in the space, in large part by
Wireless internet was assumed, however,
wired ports are also part of the program
Decreased desk real estate. Assume that
the workstation can either be assigned or
part of the infrastructure for mobile
Design for sustainability (more mobility,
less paper, less energy consumption)
and … cost per seat had to be less than a traditional cubicle
Plan and Axonometric view of “traditonal cubicle “ are intended for comparison. It is assumed the work surfaces are panel hung, flipper bins for storage overhead , with under surface pedestal files for storage below the work surface. Power and data are supplied via the panels.