Offices at Work: Uncommon Workspace Strategies That Add Value and Improve Performance (Jossey-Bass Business & Management) Hardcover – 2 Nov 2004
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“…a useful reference source on a topic that is rearely explored in this level of detail...” (Human Resources, Feb. 2005)
“Managers—even otherwise enlightened managers—are implicitly or explicitly asking the office space question in a certain kind of utilitarian way. They are essentially saying, “What is the quickest, cheapest way I can get all 4,000 of my people a desk, a chair, a wastebasket?”
With Offices at Work, Franklin Becker has a wake up call for businesses around the world. There are rewards to be gained from fine–tuning your office environment. Far from being a mere utility, space can be a strategic tool that influences the attitude and behavior and even the performance of your employees. Focusing attention on the “final frontier” of inner space will be time well spent.”
––From the Foreword by Tom Kelley
“Using an excellent balance of hard data, case studies, and real world anecdotes, Professor Becker takes the logistically challenging and culturally complex topic of workplace design and offers a well–written and accessible approach to creating competitive advantage. Covering topics ranging from different types of office layout to productivity, innovation, and change management, Professor Becker cites best (and worst) practices to provide new insights for experts as well as novices. This is a must read for anyone interested in workplace design, corporate culture, branding, change management, organizational dynamics, or corporate real estate.”
––Thomas Osmund, vice president, Goldman Sachs
Top customer reviews
* Informed penetrating comment on key issues and trends, together with questions to consider in developing your own approach.
* Insights for practice material at the end of every chapter.
The book is based on wide experience/consulting over many years. The author is a Professor of Facility planning and management and Human Relations at Cornell University in the US. He heads an influential consultancy in the field of workplace strategies. Plus substantial involvement in the International Workplace Studies Program at Cornell. I have not seen anything else that covers the ground as well as this book.
With work itself changing, the organizational structures within which it is done changing, the character of the workplace changing, and the tools used to do work changing, the physical spaces in which work occurs must change as well. However there is scant attention paid to workplace design and its implications for Business strategy and success.
Academics generally ignore the effects of workplace design in their research on work and the organization of work, and practitioners rarely tie workplace design to their business strategies or to the performance of their organizations. Yet there is a growing body of work by workplace design specialists, suggesting that workplace design is core to the successful execution of business strategy.(See the California Management Review, Vol.49, No 2, Winter 2007.)
To quote the author from chapter eight:
"The best management tools dont make decisions, they stimulate informed debate."
This is one of the major strengths of this book is that it achieves the overall result, of stimulating your thinking about a wide range of factors, concerning effective workplace design, not just cost reduction. Little is written on this area -where many assumptions (unproven) are made.
One of the main thrusts of this book, is the general lack of consideration of HR/people issues, in most decisions on workspace planning. This point is covered extensively by the author. with plenty of examples of how to make things more effective.
This book is especially good on effective change management, as well as workplace design. It is much more wide ranging than the title suggests. The process of managing workplace change, is all about creating and influencing a process that helps employees believe the workspace change design is in fact beneficial, not just to the company but to them personally.
The research done through the International Workspace Program at Cornell University over several decades + extensive consulting experience, gives some clear lessons about what kind of change management activities works, and what kinds do not.
This book although written in 2004, I personally believe is of considerable value. Some articles that are worth a look that cover similar subject matter are:
* The office of the future - more than just a pretty place. Journal of Administrative Management April/May 2007.
* It`s More than a Desk: Working smarter through leveraged Office design. California Management Review, Vol 49, No 2, Winter 2007.
* Focus on Workplace Design. Building design and construction. March 2007.
* Smart working. The impact of work organization and job design. CIPD - March 2008.
The following are also "cutting edge" in terms of achieving higher productivity/more effective workplaces:
* Property in the economy - Workplace design and productivity. July 2008.
Available from the RICs website. While Human Resources has developed into a relatively sophisticated discipline in many organizations. Little attention is paid is paid to the effective/effecient use of property, and to the relationships between people, place and productivity.
* The impact of office design on Business performance. From the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment and the British Council for Offices. May 2005.
Stan Felstead - Interchange Resources - UK.
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