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Open, flexible solutions - freedom or restriction?

Open, flexible solutions - freedom or restriction?

In today’s issue of D2 (a business newspaper) the trend of shrinking offices was discussed. This is a reality that has hit both the world and Norway since the end of the 1900’s. It can certainly lead to increased well-being and efficiency, but to succeed it also demands a great deal from both the individual and the group as a whole.

We plunge into the debate! In the article Elisabeth Paus our CEO is cited as follows:

- The Norwegian workplace has shrunk by around 50 percent since the 1990’s. The most common practice is to reduce from around 30 to 17 square meters per employee.

Elisabeth, who today runs the interior architect office IARK, and has lately been engaged in a number of Norway’s most extensive relocation processes, says that there is one thing employers are especially focused on - area efficiency.

- Less square meters per head is of course a simple, economical saving, but it would be wrong to claim that the intention of clean desk and free seating is solely economical. The most important saving occurs of course when the job is done better and more efficiently.

Empty desks are poor area efficiency, and do not contribute to an inspiring working environment. Open, flexible solutions however, can lead to more collaboration and better training for juniors. Sitting together with colleagues naturally makes it easier to cooperate.

- And then you have to ask yourself: what is the definition of a workplace for those entering today’s market.

Some of the issues are described somewhat negatively I D2:

- Where am I supposed to sit if I don’t arrive at the crack of dawn? How am I supposed to answer phone calls regarding sensitive information? How am I supposed to concentrate when I’m surrounded be noisy co-workers?

We work with these challenges daily and have done so for decades. Our feedback has been much more positive:

- Yes, it can occasionally be tiresome to sit in an open plan situation, but we won’t go back. The advantages in collaboration, communication and efficiency by far outweigh potential downsides.

Improvements can easily be made, for example by increasing the number of quiet rooms, project rooms and other areas.

So, are you running the whole marathon or just the half? Either way, you’ll have to practice first!

In order to be well prepared at the starting line it’s crucial to have put in some training. We are able to find solutions that fit your unique environment, and which are adjusted to the various work processes. We can solve this together. Our own office layout is based on the same solution!

In an ever-changing society, the will to change is a significant success factor.

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