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Flexible working needs flexible space? Towards an alternative workplace strategy

Virginia Gibson (LandSecuritiesTrillium Fellow, Department of Real Estate and Planning, The School of Business, The University of Reading, Reading, UK)

Journal of Property Investment & Finance

ISSN: 1463-578X

Article publication date: 1 February 2003



There is considerable debate in both the management and property literature on how human and physical resources can become more flexible in order to be able to respond to the dynamic business environment. Often there is an implication that if staff are working in more flexible ways then the property must also be more flexible. However there are numerous sources of flexibility for both these resources. In terms of staff, flexibility can be defined in terms of contractual, time and location elements. For property, flexibility comes from the financial contracts, physical layout and functional opportunities. There is not necessarily a direct link between the flexibility requirements in these two resources. However, it is clear that the demand drivers for office space are changing. The increase in use of information and communications technology (ICT) has had a direct impact on the underlying business processes and thus the breadth and balance of activities which office space needs to support. ICT has also been key in facilitating the staff flexibility. Together these have led to the development of a new strategy for managing workplaces which differentiates between where the space is located, the way in which the space is designed and how it is used. The challenge for corporate real estate managers is to get beyond the rhetoric of flexibility and understand how space can best support ever‐changing business processes.



Gibson, V. (2003), "Flexible working needs flexible space? Towards an alternative workplace strategy", Journal of Property Investment & Finance, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 12-22.




Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited

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