WORKSPACE REDESIGN By Workspace redesign Introduction The workspace in question is the finance and accounts department of a medium sized financial service consulting company named Weldon Walker (WW), located in a city suburb with many office buildings. Presently, the accounts and finance department, and much of the office follow the traditional design concepts where there are individual cubicles for workers; the CEO has his own office, as does the GM and chief accountant. Other employees who work in the same departments share a workspace, typically consisting of between four and six workstations in a cubicle.
The financial advisors also have private cubicles in which they can discuss clients’ financial issues in privacy; the cubicles are made of frosted glass that reduces light passage, requiring lighting within the cubicles. The finance and accounting department has six employees, including the chief accountant, who already has her own private office. The finance and accounting department requires constant collaboration among the employees; including with other staff, like the financial advisors and the CEO. The members constantly exchange paper documents and other paperwork, like financial advice contracts signed by clients.
The other issue is that the staffs have to constantly move in and out of the office when using shared office equipment like the photocopiers and scanner. The cubicle feels crammed, as it measures just 3 meters by four and a half meters, and has five workstations, arranged in a line as shown in the diagram below. The finance department employees have recently complained about the crammed space and the need to constantly move in and out of their office to get paperwork or share documents.
WW intends to eventually change the whole office workspace, but the finance and accounting department will be the first to be redesigned. The goal is to have a workspace that is ergonomic, well lit, well ventilated, and well arranged to make movement and sharing easy. The workspace needs innovation because the available physical space is already limited and not much can be done about it. Innovation is needed to meet the needs of the employees, including ease of movement, better aeration, ventilation, and lighting, creating more space, and making the space less crammed.
Brainstorming A Design points The workspace will be redesigned to ensure greater collaboration among the finance and accounting department staff The workspace needs redesign so that the workers have better air circulation, ambient temperature, natural lighting and a feeling of ‘greater space’ to make movement easy. The workspace will be redesigned to be people centered rather than furniture and equipment centered, with their input taken into account The workspace will be made luminous so that there is as much adequate natural light as is possible Simplicity will be a key design point for the re-design process Diversity will also be a key redesign point; monotony creates dullness, so diversity will be incorporated to offer different ideas and energies, as well as creating surprises. The new design will incorporate elements or randomness, flexibility, fluidity, and openness Evaluation The finance and accounting department is found at one end of the entire office space, as depicted in the diagram below; The cubicle is made with frosted glass partitions that reach all the way up to the ceiling, restricting free air movement and obstructing natural light.
Because of the use of machinery and equipment like computers and laptops, a lot of heat is generated that creates heat and an uncomfortable working environment, requiring air conditioning that further increases energy costs, as does lighting.
The design does not encourage collaboration; the glass walls are barriers that mean people must move in and out, even going to use office machinery like the printer and photocopier. Photos of the workspace are shown below; Exterior view interior, with furniture Brainstorm B Solutions: Summary Knockdown; the frosted glass need to be removed to remove the barrier effect, improve air circulation, and natural lighting.
This will enhance collaboration and make movement easy for the accounts and finance staff, while creating a feeling of extra space. Use better and ergonomically arranged furniture to enhance collaboration among the employees; currently, the workstations are arranged as shown below; Rearrange the workspace so that the space is utilized more efficiently, creating space for movement and making collaboration easy The entire finance and accounts department wing to have the glass partitioning removed, starting with the storage room, the chief accountants’ cubicle, to the other finance department staff area.
Sketches Rationale Removing the glass partitions will remove the physical barriers that they represent; they hinder movement or at least create a feeling of enclosure. When people feel they are enclosed and working in confined spaces creates a feeling of being ‘squeezed in’. The frosted glass partition is a barrier between the other staff at the accounts and finance department and the chief accountant and finance manager, with whom they have to interact and collaborate with almost constantly.
The staffs have to continuously access and handle physical documents, creating a situation where they must constantly visit the sore room; this wastes time and is inconvenient. Removing the frosted glass partitions makes it easy for the staff to move around and consult with colleagues, while access to the store room is more direct. Removing the glass partitions also enhance the natural lighting for the workspace; natural light is ambient and helps conserve energy as bulb light will no-longer be needed.
In addition, removing the frosted glass partitions that reach up to the ceiling restrict air circulation and ventilation, resulting in heat buildup that requires air conditioning to retain an ambient temperature and improve air circulation. The office equipment including copier, printers, and scanners will be rearranged and placed at a station directly behind the reception desk; this will ensure the accounts and finance staff can access them fast and easily, while the reception section can also easily reach the office equipment.
The staff workstations will be rearranged so that they face the wall and arranged side by side as illustrated below; the chief accountant/ finance manager will have their workstation moved to the end, next to the CEO’s office. Arranging the furniture in this way makes collaboration easy, creates more space for movement, and allows for easy access to others and shared resources. The arrangement of workstations, the storage cupboard will be as shown below; The chairs that the staff use are the fixed type; this redesign initiative proposes that the chairs be changed they staff have roller ergonomic chairs that will enhance collaboration and moving around about their workstations.
Old New Inspiration and Sources of ideas ALEXANDER, K., & PRICE, I.
(2012). Managing organizational ecologies: space, management and organization. New York, Routledge. BDC. (2014). How to create a productive, healthy workspace. Available: http: //www. bdc. ca/EN/articles-tools/employees/manage/Pages/how-create-productive-healthy-workspace. aspx. Last accessed 15th Jan 2015. BUSINESS INSIDER. (2013). Why Redesigning Your Workplace Could Improve Your Bottom Line Read more: http: //www. businessinsider. com/office-redesign-improve-bottom-line-steelcase-2013-2#ixzz3Oymbnfk1. Available: http: //www. businessinsider. com/office-redesign-improve-bottom-line-steelcase-2013-2. Last accessed 15th Jan 2015. PAOLETI, A. (2011). Designing Workspaces for Collaboration. Available: http: //www. shareable. net/blog/designing-workspaces-for-collaboration. Last accessed 15th Jan 2015. KARWOSKY, W. (2006). International encyclopedia of ergonomics and human factors. Boca Raton, FL. CRC/Taylor & Francis.