There are eight principles that guide workplace design, implementation and management.
Each principle has accompanying standards and guidelines, designed to help those responsible for managing government office accommodation develop better, cost effective office spaces for their organisations.
These should be read in conjunction with the Government Standard Building Performance Specifications during fit-out. If you are a mandated agency you can request a copy of the specifications by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The open-plan working environment provides communal activity areas adjacent to team neighbourhoods. There are large collaboration ‘hubs’ to encourage group communication and unplanned interaction across the whole floor. The environment also provides a range of options for high concentration work.
The open-plan environment will help reduce the chance of a particular group becoming isolated unintentionally by the physical separation that multiple enclosed offices and walls can introduce.
Staff need the right tools in order to do their jobs effectively. The use of new technologies should be encouraged wherever practical and achievable. This may include training staff in the effective use of new technologies, and organisations will need to provide budget and time for staff to be adequately trained in the use of any appropriate new technologies.
The desk is no longer considered the only viable work setting. Dynamic working environments embrace a wide range of technologies, spaces and settings that encourage areas for high concentration work, discussions and collaboration to achieve the best delivery of service. the organisational culture is focused on deliverables and not simply staff being present at their desks.
Staff move while the furniture stays in place. A fixed, generic layout will be designed to maximise the efficiency of the floor plate. Teams should be formed and reformed around the requirements of projects and activities, not pods of desks. A consistent, generic workplace design enables staff to adjust and move to a different space more quickly and reduces the cost and time involved in the shift.
The design of the open-plan working environment should be dynamic enough to enable staff to choose from a range of work settings. Staff should be encouraged to use mobility-enabling technologies to give them the flexibility to use the whole building or the ‘rest of the world’ as their work point. The organisational culture should be based on deliverables and not simply on staff being present at their desks.
The government is committed to providing safe and secure work environments for all employees and visitors, including clients and contractors; considering the needs of people with disabilities in the design and fit-out of the working environment. Once security access has been granted, the open-plan working environment provides easy access to most areas within the premises.
In any expansion, organisations should first maximise their current space before acquiring additional area. Some roles within an organisation may be able to work in a more flexible manner and may not need an assigned traditional desk for use throughout the day. If this type of new behaviour is supported by management, the current area could allow for staff growth without the need to lease additional space.
By applying these principles, standards and guidelines, the culture of an agency will need to adapt and be encouraging of management and staff to try new ways of working and using space.