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The Office of the Future

August 15, 2008
at 12:00 pm PST

I met with a new colleague today for lunch and took her on a little tour of one of our “Cisco Connected Workplaces” -- which is kind of our version of an office of the future. It very much resembles a newsroom in a newspaper. There is collaborative space, some quiet rooms, and individual workstations that are very close to one another. We didn’t see any individual offices. It maximizes space and colleague interaction and takes advantage of wireless and IP technology to make each and every employee more collaborative and productive (or, at least that is the pitch). It hasn’t yet been implemented on my team, but it is coming soon. My initial reaction is that I HATE IT!!After I got over my gut reaction for this coming change (actually, I’m still working on getting over it), I stepped back and thought about it a bit. I don’t like it because it is different from what I know. I like what I know, so, therefore, how can I like what I don’t know, right? The truth is that I didn’t like being in a cube when I first moved from my office in DC either. I got over it. Now that they want to move to this workspace I don’t like that either, but, I’m sure I’ll get over that too. The space that we toured today was clean…looked efficient…and while many people were there, it was respectfully quiet. True, not a lot of people were on the phone, but there were conference calls taking place in quiet rooms, so it reminded me a bit of the ol’ stacks in a library where people would study right next to each other and, gasp, fully function. I’ll write an update when we move to our new workspace, but I would be interested to hear how other workplace experiments are going.

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5 Comments.


  1. Hmmm, I am very unsure about the benefits of this setup aside from a cost perspective. Is the newsroom suddenly the pinnacle of an efficient office model for all businesses? Also, surviving a change from an office to a cube is a flawed argument. you can pretty much get used to anything- despite the fact that you got over your initial dislike of your cube, did the cube make you more productive? Your comparison of people working quietly next to each other in the library is an interesting comparison too. those people are not collaborating with each other. How does sitting people near each other and expecting them to be quiet and not disturb their neighbors ‘maximize colleague interaction’?Despite my concerns, I am interested to hear how it works out for you guys when you test out the new workspace! until then it sounds a little too much like Initech to me. :) Are they planning on training you guys on how to effectively use such a radical new environment? It seems like you will have to deal with some psychological issues as well- things that you like are ‘taken’ from you and that you have no space of your ‘own’ at the office.

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  2. John Earnhardt

    Andy: You are correct, the goal here is to have people be MORE collaborative, not less. We shall see what the new set-up holds as we transition into it later this year. Stay tuned. And, of course, we all have to deal with our own psychological issues… : )

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  3. I am using zigime workspace and its quite good. Its quite different from Google Docs and office live though, but useful. I think it will take some time to become popular, especially among Groups but nowadays people are enjoying in zigime workspace

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  4. Hi – John have you moved into the new CCW space yet? What’s your report out?JJE Note: Peggy, we haven’t moved. With discretionary spending where it is now, we have delayed the build-out of this new space. Will certainly update when/if we move forward.

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