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Open Plan Offices Don't Have to Suck: Learn from Past Mistakes

WWT's Joe Berger discusses the open plan offices improvement in the new headquarters and learning from past buildings with CMSWire.

Posted by CMSWire on September 11, 2017:

For some companies, improvement means a better understanding of their growth trajectory, according to Dobrowal. “Companies don’t always realize when moving into collaborative space that there will be growth spurts, or departments that will be downsized, when they are planning who sits where,” she said. “You need to look out three to five years and make the best projections of growth you can.”

St. Louis-based World Wide Technology is also on its second iteration of collaborative space. “We opened our previous headquarters about three to four years ago and it provided us a good learning experience in terms of how people work with hoteling (assigning office workers space on a very short-term basis), collaborative areas and conference room technologies,” Joe Berger, a collaboration practice director at the company told CMSWire. So when the company moved, “we knew what to look out for and anticipate.”

The company’s new space increased the number and variety of common areas where employees can interact, he said. It also incorporated video into every one of the 80 conference rooms — yes, 80 — which range from small two-people rooms to large training floors. The video systems are standardized so it is the same from room to room. There is also a cafeteria with couches and tables for open seating.

“It is a casual setting that is a lot more inviting,” Berger said.

World Wide Technology learned from trial and error its first time out in collaborative office space which groups did well sitting next to each other and which didn’t. It placed its professional services group next to the corporate development group this go-around, for instance. It also gave more thought to individuals’ work personas or job roles and what kind of workstations are best suited for that persona, Berger explained.

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