Recent studies have shown that as many as 50% or more of workstations are ‘empty’ for long periods of time in many organisations. As workers become more agile, enabled by wireless technology, the need for a fixed desk in a set location is removed.

This nomadic behaviour means the corporate value of team–work, communication and knowledge sharing is at risk of being lost. To counter this, many forward thinking organisations are restructuring their offices into ‘3rd Spaces’ – to recreate the same attractive environments as the communal habitats which are drawing the employees away – in order to recapture and contain their ‘employee capital’. Creating lounges, quiet hide–aways, exciting collaborative spaces and great internal coffee shops keeps the mobile, knowledge–based employee stimulated with a choice of workplace and is as attractive to visiting clients and suppliers.

The financial benefits gained from more efficient space utilisation – losing the need to supply fixed, 1–2–1 desk space in favour of shared communal spaces – are often paying for these changes and delivering long–term savings to boot. The resultant energised and enthusiastic employees enjoy work more and deliver better results.

"In the future, work will no longer be a noun but a verb – something that you do and not a place that you go to."

Philip Ross, Founder of Cordless Group and CEO of Unwork.com

Veldhoen + Company in Holland, the consultancy credited with devising the Activity Based Working concept, state: “The office is no longer a place where people simply process and execute tasks, it becomes a place where people meet to collaborate and create. Activity Based Working makes it possible for people, regardless of their role and function, to choose the work setting that best suits the activities they perform to deliver outcomes for their client.” 1

Microsoft thinks that organisations in the private and public sector will become more responsive and agile in order to be more competitive and successful. They call these ‘Hybrid Organisations’.

“A hybrid organisation is one characterised by fluidity – not rigid structures or linear processes. Evidence of this change is starting to be seen in many organisations – whether it’s in flexible working policies, virtual teams, the dissolution of compartmentalised office space or the emergence of cloud computing. If organisations don’t start to do this they will become constrained by their inability to respond to change, find it difficult to recruit talent and lose market share as more agile, hybrid organisations spot and exploit market opportunities."2

This article appears in our original ‘Welcome to Work’ book, which described the birth of the 3Cs concept and the creation of a working model in the form of our new London showroom. You can download the book in pdf format here.

1 Source: www.veldhoen.nl 2 Source: Creating the Hybrid Organisation: making public and private sector organisations relevant in the New Economy – Microsoft