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Sociotechnical impacts of technological and environmental change

Thoughts on NEC's new Melbourne ABW office

NEC was kind enough invite TRA’s CxO Advisor, Krist Davood, to the grand opening of its new office marking nearly half a century in Australia.  The office boasted innovative technologies with various dignitaries who attended from Fortune 500 companies and leading members of Australian Government.

However the office is more than just a showcase of technology.  It is also a sociotechnical marvel where technology and the environment augment the human experience.  An example: standing desks allow for a greater collaboration environment as people feel free to ‘come over and talk’.

 “There is an implicit ‘deal’ between employee and employer that gives workspace its symbolic power. This deal is referred to as the ‘sociospatial contract’ and is a reflection on how employees’ functional comfort can be measured and the results applied to workspace strategy and change.

This smart use of ABW, digitally booked meeting rooms, centralised locker spaces, facial recognition software and, standing workplaces have enhanced collaboration.

As an example, the centralised locker space area is designed for ‘water cooler’ type dialogue where people can collaborate in a way static environment do not allow.

The NEC workers are experts at technology, collaboration and, communication technologies however the workplace can enhance the value of the workers’ productivity by creating environments which emphasises work-life integration, trust, sustainability, team work and, fun.

NEC have stated that their workspaces need to promote communities and people as well as promote the need to foster feelings of belonging and purpose.  This is true of all companies as they conflate the psychology of the workspace and treat is as a primary factor in successful workspace change.

In Summary - Key Trends:

  1. Sit-stand work points and retreat spaces
  2. Adaptive and multifunctional furniture
  3. Degrees of Separation: Spaces for Teamwork focus
  4. Serenity spaces
  5. Open breakout areas
  6. Locker areas designed for ‘water cooler’ conversations