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31 Mar
Interacting in the flexible, organic workplace

Imagine a workplace that could readily adapt to your needs without a team of builders and electricians invading your space, causing disruptions to your business and cash flow?

ACORPP Director, Gordon Bateup, believes in the concept he calls "Flexible Designed Workplace" - FDW – that could usher in a new era of workplace interaction.

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"New tenants should really think about how they want a space to work for them now - for their business and for their people - long before they ever walk through the doors for the first time," Gordon said.

"A new lease is a brilliant opportunity to really consider your whole philosophy as to how a space should work and how you should work in that space. It's not just how your people should occupy the space but how they should develop a beneficial relationship with it," he said.

The concept revolves around determining the design of a space model that seamlessly fuses static and activity elements and provides for future permutations depending on business needs. Effectively, it's an organic space.

"FDW allows you to move people but not infrastructure," he said.

It shares similarities with Activity Based Working (ABW) but does not take the extreme of people moving everyday, as this might not suit every business. An example might be a space where the upfront strategy determined where the hard infrastructure would best be positioned. This would minimize or eliminate costly future relocation.

"That would then allow the remaining space to be used organically. People could then use the space to perhaps move together for certain projects and then move into other groups for new ones or even remain static for 6 to 12 months."

Gordon imagined a scenario where quiet and meeting rooms and kitchen facilities were embedded into the design brief but the rest of the space was cabled and wired to offer maximum flexibility in movement to allow integration with constantly changing technologies.

"The initial floor plan would then be the jump-off point to allow the business to respond to changes in direction or focus, expansion or contraction," Gordon said.

"The flexible elements would enable fast, minimal cost reconfiguring of the work area."

Gordon said FDW was an opportunity for business managers to move away from the compartment or silo concept of an office space.

"But that thinking has to start with a blank sheet of paper ahead of the design brief. The strategic need for flexibility has to be understood before it can be incorporated," he said.

 

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