Study of Open Work Space at an Innovative Company
WRA 130 Section 8
10 April 2014
Recently in the work space, there seems to be a shift from this traditional cubicle style to a more open environment for the employees. This shift has me questioning why are innovative companies shifting towards this more open environment? It seems that these companies are looking not only for a change in scenery, but a change in the how there employees utilize the environment. During this study, I will use a variety of sources in order to understand a company’s work space environment and other information pertaining the architectural design of a company. The questions I especially want to explore are: How does the open workspace effect the collaboration between employees? How does this work space attempt to foster an environment for creativity and innovation? Informational Sources
The sources I have used ranged from a variety of places. The information I collected from Skidmore Studio and Kraemer Design Group was a large group interview which was required for a summer class where we studied cultures of creativity in Detroit, Michigan. These two interviews took place on August 24, 2013. The large group interview also included a tour of both companies to actually see the working environment firsthand. Field notes were also taken to help record detailed descriptions of the environment at both companies. Another source used for this research included an online magazine called 99U. This magazine publishes research in a condensed and easy to understand format for the general public. It described research on how to build a collaborative work space. I read this to help better my understanding of what a collaborative work space might look like and what are some key components for a creative work space. I also watched a video created by Wall Street Journal on Google’s New York work space because, I have never been there. This video allowed me to visually see the environment where Google employees work. Another source I utilized was a précis completed from an article called Building Research and Information. It included research done in this area which helped me orient myself with prior research already completed on this topic. Previous Research Completed on Work Space Environment
One research précis I looked at included the importance of collaboration in the work space. They looked at three behaviors that contribute to effective collaboration: “awareness, brief interaction, and collaboration (working together)” (Heerwagena, Kampschroerb, Powell, and Loftness, par. 2). This term awareness means to understand what is going on in the environment around you. You are able to process this through “spatial features that promote awareness” and organizational factors that allow you to see other employees (Heerwagena, Kampschroerb, Powell, and Loftness, pars. 4-5). They noted some benefits to this ‘high awareness’ were rapid information sharing and ability to recognize when other employees were struggling (Heerwagena, Kampschroerb, Powell, and Loftness, par. 6). However there are some concerns for ‘high awareness’ in a collaborative environment also. It can be distracting, noisy from employees talking, and create a loss of privacy for the workers (Heerwagena, Kampschroerb, Powell, and Loftness, par. 7). Another term discussed was ‘brief interactions’ which means unplanned and short discussions you have with other employees. This results in “spatial features that promote interaction” and organizational factors that allow you to run into other employees (Heerwagena, Kampschroerb, Powell, and Loftness, pars. 9-10). Some benefits include improved information flow, increased learning, and increased development of friendships (Heerwagena, Kampschroerb, Powell, and Loftness, par. 11). There are, however, some drawbacks which include a high potential...
Cited: Alter, Adam. “Office Dynamics – How To Build A Collaborative Office Space Like Pixar and
Google.” 99U. Behance. Web. 20 March 2014.
Heerwagena, Kampschroerb, Powell, and Loftness. Workplace Research: Collaborative Knowledge Work Environments. N.p.: GSA, 2004. PDF.
Jordan, Andy. (2012, Feb 28) Inside Google: A look at its NYC Office [Wall Street Journal Tech]. Retrieved from http://live.wsj.com/video/inside-google-an-exclusive-look-at-its-nyc-office/88595E54-0ACC-42D0-963B-0D940612BFA9.html#!88595E54-0ACC-42D0-963B-0D940612BFA9
Kraemer, Bob. Personal Interview. 24 Aug. 2013.
Patrick, Drew. Personal Interview. 24 Aug. 2013.
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