07 AUGUST 2020

Activity-based design provides flexibility, savings, and a much more dynamic workspace.

Kirksey's Director of Interior Architecture, Brian Malarkey, addresses the current attitudes about mobile working, and the benefits of activity-based design.

Working from home is a popular topic of discussion these days, but what will the reality be once life returns to normal? Many people believe that some version of mobile working is probably here to stay for a large population of traditional office workers. There is almost always a core group of staff, which we call "anchored," that will, by necessity, remain at the office nearly every day of the week. Then there will likely be another "mobile" group that works a significant percentage of the workweek remotely.

If this group is regularly coming and going from the office, the real question becomes, why does that population need a dedicated seat? Once we consider that actuality, we must confront the reality that we don't do the same thing every day. Our workday often consists of multiple tasks, such as collaborating, processing and responding, and heads-down work. Each of those activities can be optimally performed in a different work setting, which brings us to the idea of "activity-based design." This design concept accounts for an eco-system of spaces that exist to host various activities throughout the workday rather than only dedicated offices, workstations, and conference rooms to perform all activities. 

Offices and workstations will not go away, but "other" spaces created to support agile working would supplement them. Say you're an agile worker, and you are coming in for a few key meetings and connecting with your project team for a planned collaboration. You might find a booth to perch at and answer emails until your meeting starts, then after, find a huddle room to pitch some ideas with your project team. Finally, you might cloister in the quiet zone to process those ideas until your last meeting in the telepresence room to present to your remote counterparts. That is activity-based working. 

Understanding and defining the ratio of "anchored" to "agile" staff is what we call the Work-From-Home Profile. We determine it through an interactive programming process that includes surveys and interviews with leadership and department heads. Once you decide your Work-From-Home Profile, we can show you the real estate efficiencies, and overall headcount flexibility gleaned from activity-based design. 
Florence Knoll said that "good design is good business." By deploying activity-based design concepts, this statement holds by providing a dynamic and flexible workplace that can accommodate more people in less real estate. 

The advantages of activity-based design include: 

  • Choosing where you work during the day with a greater variety of tailored spaces designed for different tasks 
  • Significant space savings by utilizing these "other" spaces to host work rather than just offices and workstations 
  • Accommodating a wide range of headcounts and flexibility 
  • A more dynamic, diverse, and engaging work environment

 
Combine these advantages with those of working from home, and you have provided a balanced approach to the modern workplace. Our team can help identify your optimal workforce mix and design an agile workplace that responds to any business situation.


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