Room to move about


How do you get employees to feel better and perform better? Creating an activity-based environment can be one smart solution.

When the first activity-based workplaces were launched many people were doubtful and immediately intimidated. Would they really work?
“People are used to having their own desk, as it offers security and an identity. It was therefore very positive when we realised how good activity-based workplaces were,” says Christina Bodin Danielsson, architect and PhD in architecture at Stockholm University and the Royal Institute of Technology.
There are numerous examples of how an initial suspicion soon gives way to enthusiasm resulting in increased creativity and satisfaction. When Microsoft in Amsterdam in 2010 opted to go from a traditional office space to an activity-based environment there was some substantial initial resistance. Nobody had their own desk or chair, not even the top managers. After six months none of the employees wanted to return to the old way of working. But to get an activity-based working environment to work, staff must have access to a technology that makes them mobile. They should be able to work wherever, whenever.
“Right now we are seeing a lot of interest in our activity-based concept which we call Next Office, ABW,” says Henrik Axell, Concept Developer at Kinnarps.
“Many people like the benefits and want to rearrange the office straight away. But it is important to remember to carry out an analysis before making any changes. It is not just about rearranging the office using a number of different environments, but the organisation has to work using the activity-based approach and the environment created must support this way of working. This is why we always recommend a thorough investigation and to invest time and effort into getting everyone in the organisation on board to understand the change.”
So what are the decisive benefits?
All areas are utilised and used efficiently and an activity-based workplace encourages spontaneous meetings and creativity. It brings employees closer together and they exchange experiences across the office floor. And from a purely ergonomics point of view it is very positive to be able to move from one workstation to another based on the task at hand. This is what it is all about - those who invest wisely in their employees will be a winner at the end of the day.

Read more about Kinnarps' concept Next Office, ABW here.