A New Approach to Office Design: Workplace 2.0

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In February of 2011, the Canadian government held a conference in Ottawa called Workplace 2.0: Adapting Places and Spaces. Much has changed since that time, however, the direction and anticipation of the changes in the workplace outlined by the conference were right on track.

The Workplace 2.0 initiative identified three pillars for change:

  1. The Workplace: focused on designing and re-fitting offices to be sustainable, strategically located, and flexible.
  2. The Back Office: focused on ensuring the technological infrastructure exists to meet employee’s needs.
  3. The Way We Work: focused on providing channels and tools to promote greater collaboration and communication within and across government.

As one of the top 5 employers of contingent workers, the public sector understood the benefits of adopting this new model of workplace that is able to adapt to the needs of their varied workforce. The initiative acknowledges that the physical work environment plays a role in the employee’s ability to produce quality work. Sample floor plans portray a variety of workspaces that change depending on an employee’s worker profile and include the use of freestanding and mobile furnishings that embrace mobile technology. But most importantly this new approach to office design places importance on coworking spaces that encourage teamwork, brainstorming, quick meetings and collaborative work on projects.

While the addition of collaborative and open spaces increases employee’s awareness of others, there is an understanding that this raises the need for quiet spaces where private exchanges or work requiring concentration can take place. The Loop Phone Booth is an example of how these office designs can easily incorporate a solution that is as modern and flexible as their new infrastructure.