Design Trend: Activity Based Workplaces

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Activity Based Workplaces

Activity-Based Workplace design, or ABW, is an emerging trend in office design that allows for flexible, transparent and collaborative spaces, while increasing productivity and remaining cost-effective. Modern technology has allowed for more mobility and flexibility so that work is now considered a thing you do instead of simply a place you go. The activity-based working environment is an innovative workplace with a variety of options that adhere to the employee’s need for individual, uninterrupted work or collaborative teamwork. The allure of this approach to work is that employees are given the freedom to work in the way that best fits the activity they have at hand, based on their own particular needs. Organisations that have successfully implemented it have rendered valuable results. Activity-based offices can decrease overheads such as rent, paper-usage, electricity and energy by substituting uneconomical cubicles with Wi-Fi enabled workstations.

Activity-Based Workplaces may consist of the following:

  • Huddle Rooms (1 for every 20 users), equipped with video conferencing technology, available for groups of 3 or 4 to brainstorm.
  • Small and large conference rooms with Wi-Fi and multi-media capabilities.
  • Focus Rooms (1 for every 4 users) for private activities, one-on-one discussions, conference calls or phone conversations.
  • Stand-up workstations to reduce occupational sedentary time.
  • Workstations comprised of adjustable desks that can be lowered or raised.
  • Touchdown or “unassigned” spaces that are available for people who are out of the office the majority of the day, visiting employees from other branches, or guests.

Activity Based WorkplaceIn traditional offices, a hierarchy can be established by the size and privacy of offices. ABW environments are more transparent, with less internal walls and more glass partitions. Offices are less private and accessible to everyone, allowing staff to have more access to management, who are no longer behind closed doors.

New technology has changed the nature of how, why, and where tasks are performed. Paper has been one of the biggest obstacles in eradicating the traditional desk. Thanks to cloud computing technology, paper no longer has to be stowed away in desks or personal spaces. Mobile devices have eliminated the need to be physically present in boardrooms or meetings. This does not mean that the need for actual offices has become obsolete. The importance of face-to-face and collaborative interaction is one of the strongest forces driving office design today.

The modern office has become a place to congregate, share knowledge, and exchange ideas. Designing a functional, yet dynamic office is an effective strategy to secure your current personnel and attract new talent. Activity-based workplace design creates environments that are efficient, progressive, and more importantly, connected. We are entering the age of the social-networked office.

Need help turning your Canadian business space into an activity based workplace? Inquire about our space planning and interior design services.


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