In recent years, alternative and innovative workplace strategies have emerged, aimed at improving effectiveness and creating more flexible ways of working. The implementation of these types of strategies can significantly affect agencies' office-space needs. If they are proposed, expert advice should be sought to assess the likely effect on office accommodation area and functionality requirements.
Alternative workplace strategies can include:
- flexible work scheduling
- desk sharing
- distributed work centres
Desk sharing extends the current practice of flexible start and finish times (combined with core time) to a level that allows more than 1 worker to use the same workspace at different times. This practice facilitates permanent part-time working and job sharing. It can also be used when out-of-office work forms a large component of work time for several employees. Workers choose any desk that is available from a general pool or designated group.
Distributed work centres provide office space located near workers' residential areas, and used by employees living closest to each centre.
Teleworking generally means working from home, typically for part of the week, using information and communication technology to receive work instructions and send completed work back to the central office. Some attendance at the central office usually forms part of this arrangement.
Alternative work strategies, such as those described, form part of agencies' human resources (HR) planning and need to be clearly defined and agreed before they are translated into office-space needs. It is also important that appropriate mobile office technology is provided to support effective work practices in any of these scenarios.