Social and mobile technologies are behind the exciting new workspace design phenomenon where more and more companies are operating with fewer desks. The author discusses how designing new spaces around tablets, smart phones and other mobile accessories is creating a more widely distributed workforce. He cites Cisco Systems in San Jose, California, as an example where office space has been smartly manipulated and reconfigured to suit newer work styles.

Called Connected Workplace, it replaces individual cubicles with open clusters of wheeled desks that belong to groups, not individuals. Employees keep their personal belongings in lockers. PCs are passé as everyone uses mobile technologies. Cisco’s vision is an example of a broader effort to reshape office technologies and environments. This project was initiated after an internal study found that cubicles were vacant two-thirds of the time while people roamed the campus or worked remotely.

Connected Workplace saves the corporation a ton of money in real estate and overhead costs. In the future, they expect to save on healthcare costs as well as employees who move around more are often healthier and happier.

Source: Tom Simonite Business Impact September/October 2011

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