Home' Commercial : WAs Best Commercial Designs 2011 Contents 112 WA’s Best Commercial Designs 2011
ABOVE HBO + EMTB make good use of glass to provide an open feel in the Perth NAB offices.
“The location of this area is on the top floor of the building overlooking Perth,
providing a great aspect,” says Jacqui. “In addition, they have smaller spaces
within the office area for coffee or to re-heat lunch.”
A number of spaces were incorporated into Woodhead’s fitout of Shell.
“These also have a great aspect for staff – to the street and tree canopies beyond.
They provide flexibility in the type of seating and are designed for meeting use.
A minimum of two areas per floor provide easy access for everyone.”
ECONOMICS AND TECHNOLOGY
Trends in office design are responding to economic realities, and new
ICT technologies with things like cloud connectivity, follow-me
technology and wireless capability. Alison says clients are looking at the
key business drivers of cost and people, plus demand for organisational
agility and management strategies, such as alternative workplace
opportunities and managed change.
Owners and tenants are also looking to optimise space flexibility to enable
alternative work practices via activity-based working, such as ‘hot desking’
(non-dedicated desks) and telecommuting (working from home), as well as
‘spaceless growth’ via consolidation and communication.
Alison points out that organisations are complex and evolving. “For this
reason, evidence-based design is now essential to create informed workplace
outcomes,” she says. “User engagement and feedback is now an essential
input to the brief. This relies on effective organisational communication
pathways and an organisation-endorsed engagement process. This process
is relatively new and not yet common practice.”
Highlighting the depth of the issue, Alison talks about the trend
towards designing offices that provide platforms for communities, which
include knowledge-based work practices, real and virtual interaction
and collaboration, electronic document management, and smaller,
portable IT with diverse capability.
She describes how workplace changes are linked to a growth of
knowledge-based work, a changing workplace model from efficiency
to effectiveness, workplace provision, the dematerialisation of space
and change management.
“Knowledge work includes both periods of collaboration and
concentration, hence the need for alternative spaces for quiet,
uninterrupted work and alternatives to open-plan work space for
collaborative engagement,” says Alison. “These include non-dedicated
spaces like quiet rooms for individual work and project rooms for short-term,
dedicated and/or specialist activities.”
Alison says the design emphasis has shifted from optimising space
efficiency to optimising space effectiveness. “Communication and
collaboration are now the drivers of productivity. This is enabled by
increasing connectivity between people and groups – both real time and
virtual. Physically this manifests as spatial transparency, ‘walkable’
connectivity, work and worker mobility.
“These inclusions increase opportunities for social interaction and
engagement and enable collaborative work. This, in turn, generates the
need for interaction zones and quiet areas, video conferencing spaces and
The evidence-based shift from the building-focused model of ‘efficiency’
to the people-focused model of ‘effectiveness’ is supported by the business
case which shows salaries represent 85 per cent of operational costs
(building-related costs represent 15 per cent).
Alison says the brief is now for more dynamic and comfort-driven
spaces, focused on ergonomic support and task-appropriate technologies
and spaces – from ‘business-like’ and ‘space-as -status’ approach to a more
sophisticated, egalitarian domestic aesthetic. “This approach, now taken
by many organisations, enables management to lead by example, foster
appropriate behaviours and encourage a collaborative style of engagement.”
Finally, Alison says the benchmark for industry ‘best practice’ is
shifting from ‘space’ to ‘organisational’ performance. “Extremely large or
forward-thinking organisations are reshaping internal management roles
to make them change-ready. This has spawned intra-organisation design
roles to assist with the ongoing operational, space and human-resource
monitoring to anticipate mergers, consolidation and/or moving activities.
“Knowing what your work and business dynamics are, and the IT and space
needs that support it, hones investment decision-making and the brief.”
This detailed brief is the key to good office design. And good design is a key
to an organisation’s social and financial wellbeing, incorporating everything
from staff productivity to company branding.
SOCIAL AND FINANCIAL WELLBEING
Ultimately, good office design is about creating an environment that is
comfortable, functional, stimulating and flexible. Such an environment is
likely to make staff happy and productive. Furthermore, the organisation
is likely to retain its happy workers and attract new, talented personnel.
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