Why the workplace of the future will be like a game of musical chairs
We've been told that sitting is the new smoking (ie. terrible for our health); but how will offices of the future function if staff are discouraged from sitting at their desks for eight hours a day? A recent article on the Columbus CEO website looks to the new Columbus EY offices for an idea on how this could work in practice.
The accounting firm recently introduced a '16 ways to work' policy that gives workers the option of standing or sitting on a number of alternative options, from barstools and benches to couches and even treadmills.
Crucially, employees will no longer have assigned desks, meaning that they are encouraged to interact more with a variety of colleagues as workstations become filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Apps and touch screens allow for some workspace reservations if a particular area is required.
In fact, the only members of staff with their own desks are one receptionist, three creative service professionals and six admin assistants - not even partners of the firm have a desk to call of their own.
The modern facility now also includes free parking, a bus stop, bikes for employees to use during lunchtime and even nearby apartments if they wish to shorten their commute. The GBK Hub features a kitchen, foosball table and a 'joke wall'.
Of course, the method is not without it problems. Because each working day is different, staff are required to clear away any personal items and keep them in a locked drawer within the communal filing cabinet.
But EY's office manager, Craig Marshall, argues that the innovative new office improves employees' working lives and gives them a better work/life balance: "You're seeing more energy, more collaboration, more teaming," he explained. It is also thought to boost morale and engagement as staff often work in a fresh new environment each day.