Workspace

Offices are becoming more open, mobile and ergonomically correct.

Federal work environments are just beginning to reflect hierarchical changes brought on by recent downsizing and reengineering. As some agencies trade in traditional top-down management structures for work teams, office walls are coming down. Open design plans, which incorporate cubicles instead of private rooms, encourage interaction among employees. That interaction can help workers share information more easily and lead to faster decision-making.

In the same way that private offices are being interpreted by some as counterproductive, so are stationary offices. Open communications seems to hinge on the ability to congregate on a moment's notice. For this reason, the average new office contains multiple conference rooms instead of only one. In addition, leading furniture manufacturers such as Haworth, Herman Miller, Knoll and Steelcase are putting wheels on their desks and filing cabinets so people can assemble quickly. Cubicle walls even are being made mobile so they can be wheeled away for impromptu brainstorming sessions.

Mobility also is the goal behind the "hoteling" concept in which temporary offices are provided for field workers and telecommuters. Agencies save money by not having to maintain permanent space for these employees, yet people always have places to work when they are on-site.

Safety is another concern for modern-day office designers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics attributed about 400,000 U.S. illnesses and injuries last year to cumulative-trauma disorders such as eye strain, backaches and neck pain-thus totaling more than $2 billion in workers' compensation claims. Cumulative-trauma disorders are blamed on poorly designed furniture that fails to accommodate different body sizes and work styles. Manufacturers have started addressing ergonomic risks by offering flexible designs that keep workers comfortable and make them more productive. Examples include chairs with movable armrests and inflatable lumbar support, and height-adjustable desks that provide typing surfaces at desired levels.. That type of furniture, from companies such as BodyBilt and Corel, is particularly useful in office hoteling situations.

-Lisa Corbin

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.