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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Learning from the Alternative Workplace by Beth Goodbaum

"More employers are adopting alternative workplace practices to address employee-related values and needs. Is the office cubicle on its way out of the modern workplace?" summarizes Beth Goodbaum.

 Five Trends that are Dramatically Changing Work and the Workplace (PDF)

Office cubicles, desktop computers and a 9-to-5 staff have long been the standard trademarks of the traditional workplace. Today, however, non-traditional settings and practices are becoming popular as employers shift to more informal alternative workplace initiatives.

Research consortium New Ways of Working (New WOW) defines the "alternative workplace" as "the combination of nontraditional work practices, settings and locations that supplement or replace traditional offices," consisting of practices that include "mobile work inside and outside the office, hoteling, work from home (telecommuting) and work from third-party places, among others."

In New WOW's recent benchmarking survey of 143 leading organizations, including Fortune 500 and 100 companies, 74 percent of respondents said they have a formal or informal alternative workplace program in place. Yet the major survey findings indicate that there has been a substantial rise in the number of informal, ad-hoc implementations in organizations, climbing from 18 percent in 2009 to 32 percent in 2011.

While the top perceived value behind such programs has typically been cost savings, the focus is now shifting to employee-related values, including job satisfaction, work/life balance and talent retention. Such initiatives are changing both the look and the practice of companies worldwide.

"Develop new ways of working by involving employees in interviews, focus groups and surveys," Dr. Joe Aki Ouye, co-founder and partner of New WOW, advises in Five Trends that are Dramatically Changing Work and the Workplace. "
Second, the participants need to: assess how existing ways of working are helping or hindering their achievement; think through new policies, work practices, and technologies; and prepare a strategy for rolling out new ways of working."

Source:ThomasNet Industrial News Room (blog)