The Rise of Activity Based Working

At Clerkenwell Design Week, Bisley invited Jones & Partners to present an interactive session on “The Rise of Activity Based Working”. This prompted Craig and Phid to a whistle stop tour of changes in the workplace over the past half century and their influences on our current work environments. The talk started by setting the scene of working life some 40 years ago. At this point workers excelled at being “in the hive” and doing their role within a very managed and controlled environment.

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It was not uncommon for workers to be sat row upon row , classroom style, working on defined tasks to deliver a standardised output.

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Change came in response to many innovations, but we focused on four major developments which had a significant impact on our working lives: The advent of mobile communications which freed us up to move with our work and sta y in touch; automation in the workplace with the power of computing (signified here by the originators of VisiCalc, precursor to Lotus 123 and then Microsoft Excel) the establishment and then explosion of the Internet and finally by legislation, in this example the deregulation of the aviation industry in the USA which had a global impact on travel and how we work together.

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The adoption of these technologies and the changes which followed continues to have an impact on our workplaces and the interconnecting spaces. How and when we work, how and when we commute. Where we work has become more diverse and the modes of transport to and from have become more varied, our working “gear” has changed and our expectations for working environment have changed dramatically.

Personalisation and choice in life have been brought into the workplace. The expectation that we can have what we want, how we want it and when we want it have become threaded through every part of our lives - including the working “day”. We have become empowered to delivery on results with the flexibility of how and when we find the best way to do so. Work is more than ever all about the activity, what am I working on, and the environment needs to respond to an ever more complex and diverse set of activities as well as individual needs.

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This “empowerment” is great, but as with super-heros, with great power comes great responsibility!

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As workers we are bringing more devices, Activity based work is a system which has workers bringing more demands into an environment, they require access to power and data and physical storage in more flexible ways and in more appropriate locations. The empowerment of working where we like and how we like on an assortment of devices results in a need for flexibility but also standardisation and access to core requirements: Power for Technology; Surface Space and Storage.

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Bridge for Bisley has been designed to meet the challenges of the new, activity based workspace. 

Empowered workers need security first and foremost to ensure peace of mind regarding their devices and possessions.  They also require flexible workspace and access to power in various and variable places.

Moreover the “bridge” between the formal and informal workspace can be managed by providing flexible and modular solutions, combined with a range of surface finishes and textures which take their inspiration from domestic interiors.

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Jones and Partners