Companies are faced with increased global competition, rising real estate costs, an informational economy driven by new technology, a need to build and maintain a skilled workforce and increasing governmental regulation. This article explores a range of business responses to these realities in which company facilities work to enable business strategies to succeed, including:
- Reduction of real estate and other expenses;
- Flattening organizational and working teams to become quick, responsive and competitive;
- Developing new ways of working, attracting and keeping good employees, and serving customers; and
- Acquiring new information technologies.
The article explores four perspectives that help companies better understand the workplace and make informed decisions that support business strategy:
- Infrastructure Perspective: a look at panels, frames, desk, floor, and ceiling, with helpful parallels to urban planning;
- Community Perspective: with parallels between city (parks, schools, theaters, etc.) and work environments (lobbies, reception areas, etc.);
- Production Perspective: asking questions such as: How much privacy is required? Where should people should go to work together or to have privacy? How varied are tasks? What sort of desk space and computer hardware are needed? Etc.
- Personal Perspective: paying attention to the physical, spiritual, intellectual and social wellbeing of individuals.
- This framework of perspectives allows a true understanding of workplace needs and enables companies to create workplaces that support business strategies and help achieve overall goals.
Source: Richard Duffy, Los Angeles Business Journal, May 21, 2001