These buildings are on the leading edge in Australia of activity-based work. ABW recognises there is a spectrum of work styles, demands, functions and activities and that each day, people will have different activities to complete requiring varying levels of concentration or collaboration. Activity-based working delivers the working environment and tools for staff to choose different work styles to suit their work activities.
Our question was: what can our school learn from this emerging field of thinking about workspaces?
There was lots to enjoy and appreciate about the tour. In no particular order of reflection:
- Furniture can provide quiet nooks, privacy and isolation - you don't necessarily need walls!
- Digital technologies are the great enabler of flexibility. If you don't need access to lots of paper files/records/documents, you don't need filing cabinets - nor do you need somewhere to dump your stuff! With mobile phones, you don't need a landline; with a laptop you don't need much else!
- Atriums are great for visibility, light and generating a sense of connectedness
- Even in a very big space, there can be a very human sense of connection created by being able to see lots of people getting on with doing their own thing - sitting, walking, talking, as individuals or groups. (Unfortunately, the people are absent from these architectural shots!)
So what are the takeaway lessons for the school?
Not sure yet - other than that furniture is a key consideration in any construction of space!