Informing government decision makers through research & industry insights.

Federal Workspaces Are Changing, the Question Is How?

In a world where half of employee cubicles are smaller than the bathrooms in their homes, the open floorplan may have gotten a bad rap. “Six-packs,” as some cubicles are affectionately called, are becoming more and more common as agencies struggle with the “taffy pull,” or the almost partisan divide between open space and individual private office devotees.

At Excellence in Government 2014, a panel of senior leaders in public and private sector organizations discussed this so called “taffy pull.” Chuck Hardy, Chief Total Workplace Officer at the General Services Administration, Paul Rauch, Assistant Director for Business Management and Operations at the Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS), and Larry Fitzpatrick, President of professional services firm Computech, all provided their input on how agencies can rightsize workspaces, a term Hardy loosely translated as “giving employees what they need to do their work.”

Budgets and mandates to reduce space are pushing all agencies to reassess workspaces, but the panel also called attention to push factors such as productivity gains. As Fitzpatrick explained, employees can make great productivity gains by being able to choose where they work. On a day demanding quiet, they may want to sit in a certain area, while other days may require frequent collaboration with colleagues.

On the other hand, individualized office space can also bring productivity gains. “People have a need for a space, a place to call their own,” Fitzpatrick explained. If having a designated space helps employees get into the zone 15 minutes faster, then spending a little more on office space might be worth it, he added.

No matter what the future workspace looks like, the panel agreed that distractions must be taken care of above all. “The average distraction costs 25 minutes,” Fitzpatrick said. That’s time that no agency can afford to waste.

- Zoe Grotophorst, Manager, Research & Strategic Insights

For more from 2014 Excellence in Government, check out GBC’s EIG2014 recap series.

Image creditHey Paul Studios (CC by 2.0)

Disclaimer

This post is written by Government Business Council; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Government Executive Media Group's editorial staff. For more information, see our advertising guidelines.

FROM OUR SPONSORS

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.