Shifting the Conversation on Open Offices

WorkSpace Connect, taking place Sept. 9 to 11 in Dallas, will bring together professionals of diverse corporate disciplines for mutual learning, hands-on experience, and insight on how to craft a cohesive strategy for technology-enabled, people-friendly office spaces. We’ve got a great lineup of speakers, including keynoter Joe Park, chief digital architect and vice president of associate digital experience at Walmart, and a two-day slate of cross-discipline programming — plus a Business Hall with potential partners for your workspace initiatives. He offered a reasonable suggestion (I think so, at least) on how companies might tamp down the negativism and make hotdesking — and open offices at large — a workable solution for all: By policy, employees who work in the office three or more days a week aren’t eligible for the hotdesking system; those who come into the office one or two days a week, must hotdesk. “If this arrangement can save the company money, those funds may be available to invest in other workplace solutions or amenities beneficial to everyone,” he wrote. See All in Employee Experience » Perhaps we’re just a bunch of introverts, but the consensus was that open offices are too lacking in privacy. Putting on my No Jitter/Enterprise Connect/WorkSpace Connect hat, I suggested that open offices are vital for building collaborative cultures and more productive work environments. To say I was roundly scoffed at would be an understatement. Open offices are about nothing more than doing more with less… in this case, more people + less space = better margins, I heard. Overheard at a recent family gathering: “Open offices are the pits.” I don’t know what precipitated the comment, but the affirmative chorus of rants that followed made clear that workspaces make for safe social discourse. And today is the best day to register, before our Advance Rate comes to an end. As a No Jitter reader, you can even save $200 off the price of attendance. Sign yourself up with your real estate/facilities and HR colleagues now, using the code NJPOSTS! Tags:News & ViewsOpen OfficeEmployee ExperienceBest PracticesFuture of WorkNews & ViewsWorkSpace Connect Articles You Might Like behappy_774.jpg Evolving the Employee Experience Beth Schultz July 08, 2019 From speakerphones for open spaces to immersive video windows, a next wave of innovation is headed to your distributed workplace. His point being, whether employees are destined for hotdesks or assigned spaces, everybody has to be made to feel valued. And that means it must be a top priority to conquer the negativism among employees that so often comes along with open offices. As Eric concluded in his post: “… if an enterprise is willing to work with its employees to balance everyone’s needs — workers as well as corporate bean-counters — there could be a way to use these concepts effectively without damaging the workplace environment.” My colleague, Eric Krapf, touches on this same issue in his recent blog post, “Giving Hotdesking the Cold Shoulder,” over on our WorkSpace Connect event site. While not every open office includes hotdesking, Eric crystallizes the overarching issue as one being about corporate attitude. The danger, as he wrote, comes when companies treat employees “as just a mass of undifferentiated rear ends that have to be placed into a mass of undifferentiated chairs each day.” To think that the onus of solving this challenge falls on any one group would be another mistake. We think it takes the concerted effort of leaders in enterprise IT, real estate/facilities, and people management. To that end, we’re hosting our first-ever event focused on this intersection and the future of workspaces, and we hope you can join us. Truth be told, we hope the corporate rationale for embracing open offices is a balanced mix accounting for employee experience and business needs, including those financial in nature. And we fear for companies making decisions solely on a cost-savings basis — ultimately, end results won’t match the desired outcome. Log in or register to post comments read more

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UN agencies help Sudan turn back polio epidemic

This fourth round of Sudan’s National Immunization Days in 2005 hopes to reach those children living in the poorest communities or those cut off by conflict. These children are the key to stopping the spread of the disease, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which, along with the UN World Health Organizations (WHO), is among the programme’s international partner agencies.There are now 150 confirmed cases of polio in Sudan. The latest two cases were announced by the Ministry of Health on 15 May, and are in the states of Khartoum and West Kordofan, raising to 24 the total number of cases reported this year.UNICEF said the overall outlook across affected African and Arab States is encouraging, with good results emerging from this year’s previous anti-polio campaigns. None of the countries where transmission re-emerged in 2004 have recorded any cases so far this year, and cases are also falling dramatically in Nigeria.But Sudan is the exception. Eighteen of the 26 states of Africa’s largest country now have confirmed cases of polio since the beginning of the outbreak in May 2004. A three-year period of polio-free status – from 2001 to 2004 – led authorities and health agencies to focus limited global resources on other countries. Sudan discontinued nationwide polio campaigns after 2002, and only sub-national immunization campaigns have been conducted over the past two years to reach border districts and low routine coverage areas.Authorities believe that these new cases of polio were introduced into the country by cross-border movements of infected individuals carrying the virus into Sudan and exposing unvaccinated children. The long war between the north and the south and now in the Darfur region of western Sudan have prevented access to basic health services for many, leaving unvaccinated children very vulnerable to this menacing virus, UNICEF said.”With children already beginning to return with their families to the south from the north and from other countries, the risk of infection with the polio virus is greater than ever,” said Joanna Van Gerpen, UNICEF Representative in Sudan. “We must ensure that the positive trend of people returning to their home areas is not offset by increased disease rates due to lack of immunization.” read more

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