The idea of shared workspaces is not new. Corporations and institutions have employed "hoteling" concepts for decades.
What's new is the scale of these projects. Large corporations like GlaxoSmithKline and CBRE are implementing "first come first serve"-type workplace concepts across entire floors and buildings—all in an effort to use their space more effectively and, in CBRE's case, reduce rent costs.
The LA Times yesterday reported on CBRE's new 200-person headquarters in Los Angeles, which occupies the top two floors of the 26-story 400 South Hope tower. All 200 occupants, from the executives to the brokers to the admin. staff, work in a completely "untethered" atmosphere, where assigned desks and offices are replaced with a variety flexible workspaces (traditional workstations, small private rooms, conference rooms, lobby space, etc.). The office is designed to encourage interaction and collaboration, with large common areas and collaboration "neighborhoods" (clusters of workstations).
LA Times' Roger Vincent writes:
"Desktop computers were replaced with laptops that can be stored in lockers in the new office. Upon arriving, employees collect their telephone headsets, laptops and key files. They then head to one of 10 "neighborhoods" where employees doing similar tasks such as legal work or property management cluster. Or they can set up in the heart of the office near the front door that looks like a cross between an upscale hotel lobby and a coffee bar.
Workstations have telephones, keyboards and monitors that employees plug into, and they can sit, stand or even walk on a treadmill while they work. There are media-equipped conference rooms for meetings and small booths for making private phone calls."