Magazine article Public Management

Plugging into the Office of the Future

Magazine article Public Management

Plugging into the Office of the Future

Article excerpt

"Do more with less," that catch-all phrase of the early 1990s, is now the rule for most firms planning and designing office space for today and tomorrow. Corporate executives have learned that "rightsizing" or "reengineering" is a continual process: at any given time, more than 20 percent of the workforce within an organization is being reconfigured. Executives also recognize the growing importance of access to information in remaining competitive.

Flexibility and technological capability thus have become as important as image. In today's offices, fixed walls are giving way to movable calls; equipment-specific cabling systems are giving way to universal cabling systems. Office tenants want to move in, plug in their equipment, and go to work; they, also want to be able to move employees around.

As change becomes the status quo, office tenants are demanding efficient office lay-outs that reflect the continual moves and changes needed to run a "lean and mean," market-responsive business. The following trends describe some of the ways in which office designers are meeting these needs when renovating existing office space or building anew.

Raised floors for fast-track moving. Raised floors with wiring running underneath are becoming de rigueur because they enable office users to move around or to add service virtually anywhere without disruption.

Universal cabling systems. In the past, each type of computer or telephone had its own cabling system; today, a single type of cable can meet all telecommunication and data transmission needs. Technical advances have increased the data transmission capacity of these systems tenfold.

Demountable partitions and modular furniture. Facilities owners and office managers are asking for office partitions that will accommodate future moves. Despite the added expense, many office tenants are installing demountable partitions, which, along with modular workstations, provide a flexible, open-plan environment that enhances communication and collaboration among employees while making future moves and changes easier. …

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