Business Report

Designing Around Collaboration and Mobility

Technology shift sparks a rethinking of conventional office space.

With mobile devices invading the workplace and more workers telecommuting, many companies—and the design firms that serve them—are rapidly changing their thinking about conventional office space.

Small collaboration spaces: Earlier this year Microsoft completed renovations on its new “Garage,” a site in Redmond, Washington, that encourages innovation among small groups of employees.

Cubicles are passé; flexible spaces that allow employees to log in, collaborate, and hit the road are all the rage. The goal is to support the mobile workforce, increase the opportunities to interact, and save money by using space more efficiently.

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This design trend is partly a response to events: cubicles are already emptying. An internal study by Cisco, for example, found that cubicles at the company’s office were vacant 35 percent of the time because workers were telecommuting or working elsewhere on the company’s campus. (Photo Gallery: Innovations in office design.)

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Next in this Business Report

The Future of the Office

The explosion of mobile devices, together with social technologies and smart apps, is creating a new distributed workforce. It’s transforming physical offices and how work gets done. This month, Technology Review examines the implications of this trend for business efficiency, productivity, and security.

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