Santa Cruz based Plantronics, makers of wireless headsets, is giving its aging facilities a complete design overhaul. The company's head of human resources, Pat Wadors, shows SmartPlanet how the new working spaces, in addition to being more tech-friendly, are also starting to create change within the company's culture.
The office of tomorrow: How design impacts culture
Posting in Design
Santa Cruz based Plantronics, makers of wireless headsets, is giving its aging facilities a complete design overhaul. The company's head of human res...
Feb 27, 2012
Unlike the negatives created above by the traditionalists, I like the fact that universities are starting to grapple with collaborative efforts. As for the commerical space, I have seen many open offices where productivity has increased as there were people watching and it meant that you really did have to work. As for enclosed partitioned offices, you were more free to do whatever the hell you liked and if you wanted to work it was up to the employer. As for telecommuters, you are free to work your own agenda at home and do the work on the side, there is pros and cons for both at working at home. Productivity is at risk with people working from home. But if there were measures to ensure PRDPs were being met and that a significant amount of productivity could be proven then maybe it is worthwhile. Hope that makes sense??
What a load. Nobody, i mean nobody, can be productive in such an environment. This type of office design is used to pack as many bodies into the floor space as possible and for management to easily monitor their employees every move without the expense of surveillance cameras mounted above every desk. What I would really like to see is the difference in their employee turnover rate after this new design was implemented.
I've been writing about the Office of the Future for more than 30 years. There is absolutely nothing new here. Workers do well in low cubes when there job is about collaborating, not creating independent work (like writing or programming). And if 40% of the workers are telecommuting, it might be an indication that they need to stay home to get any work done. The Office of Tommorrow is about providing information as you need it and automating mundane tasks, not about whether your cubby wall is low or high.
I worked at a MAJOR telecommunications company for about five years, during which time we went from high walls to low walls, then back to high walls and then, to low walls again. When the walls were high, management convinced themselves that we weren't working. When the walls were low, they decided we were too sociable. And, at $750 per cube per change that adds up to quite a bit of money. (I was told it cost $750 when I asked to re-arrange my cube for physical health reasons.)
1) The head of human resources (along with every other "suit" in the company) has her OWN, ENCLOSED office away from the hoi-polloi; and 2) People who successfully stay home a lot (in order to get some "quiet time," did you catch that?) will have their jobs marked for outsourcing. Does SmartPlanet get kickbacks from cubicle makers or something? Why is there never a piece discussing how horrid it is to work in an "open office"? There is peer-reviewed research proving that it CUTS productivity.