Technological innovations and continuing IT developments, together with the now widespread use of innovative space planning techniques, such as hot‐desking have been hailed as the remedy for the demand for a more intensive and efficient use of space in offices. Although most organisations have attempted to simultaneously provide for human needs and requirements, most, if not all have fallen short. This paper aims to investigate whether an optimum balance can be struck between commercial requirements of flexibility, in terms of office design, while at the same time ensuring that the human needs of privacy, identity, status and personal control are not compromised.
The paper considers current thought and provides a literature review in the area. The paper aims to establish that new work methods can have a potentially negative effect on employee performance in companies as the implementation of new ways of working does not always take into account the importance of employee satisfaction and empowerment. New work methods and innovative space planning techniques are compared and contrasted to case study observations at the offices of Drivers Jonas LLP, Chartered Surveyors, in Manchester.
Innovative space planning concepts and recent technological innovations are examined including how they impact on the employee, in terms of behaviour and work satisfaction. A case study identifies how the unique culture of openness and sharing that is present at Drivers Jonas LLP can successfully integrate human requirements with physical requirements so that optimal employee performance and satisfaction is achieved.
The paper establishes that the culture of an organisation is the most important element in determining whether a workforce can own their own space in a space sharing environment. In terms of increasing workplace satisfaction which is directly linked to “better business performance”, the paper will identify that all innovative space planning techniques and methods will fall at the first hurdle, if an organisation does not have the right culture to support its ideas.
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