As the economic recession takes hold there is growing anxiety in the workplace coupled with a growing number of empty offices. This article explores the importance of quality designer input in fighting the depressing echoes of empty cubicles. As noted here by Steelcase’s vice president of design, “It’s a business imperative to transform the physical space quickly to send a clear message to the remaining employees to say we value you and we’re a viable, healthy company.”

This article offers an overview of how office design firms work with clients in these situations. Design teams are called in as early as four months in advance of layoffs. They walk the offices late at night or on weekends to get a feel for the space, then meet with company executives to help them think about how to reorganize the workspace to reflect the new business realities. When layoffs are imminent the design team moves into a hotel near the client and begins coordinating the work of movers, contractors, liquidators and furniture installers. The article proceeds to note how the design team members interact with client employees throughout the change and how they work to give them a feeling of control over their new environment.

The article ends with three recommendations for lessening employee anxiety, confusion … and empty office space.

Link to original article: Susan Berfield. Business Week; April 14, 2008, p54

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