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Harv Bus Rev. 2014 Oct;92(10):68-77, 121.

Workspaces that move people.

Abstract

Few companies measure whether the design of their workspaces helps or hurts performance, but they should. The authors have collected data that capture individuals' interactions, communications, and location information. They've learned that face-to-face interactions are by far the most important activity in an office; creating chance encounters between knowledge workers, both inside and outside the organization, improves performance. The Norwegian telecom company Telenor was ahead of its time in 2003, when it incorporated "hot desking" (no assigned seats) and spaces that could easily be reconfigured for different tasks and evolving teams. The CEO credits the design of the offices with helping Telenor shift from a state-run monopoly to a competitive multinational carrier with 150 million subscribers. In another example, data collected at one pharmaceuticals company showed that when a salesperson increased interactions with coworkers on other teams by 10%, his or her sales increased by 10%. To get the sales staff running into colleagues from other departments, management shifted from one coffee machine for every six employees to one for every 120 and created a new large cafeteria for everyone. Sales rose by 20%, or $200 million, afterjust one quarter, quickly justifying the capital investment in the redesign.

PMID:
25509577
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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