An ABW Future?
A 2012 survey by Colliers International found that one in three organisations were planning to implement ABW.
Ernst & Young recently signed a new lease for offices in Sydney and will join its peers KPMG and PWC in adopting the new work style.
"Our intention for 200 George St is to move to an activity based working style for those areas of our business where it is appropriate,” an Ernst & Young spokesperson told iTnews. “However, it is still early days, as we have only just signed the lease agreement for our new office."
Arup is another firm that has already completed an ABW pilot that now intends to adopt the approach more broadly this year before potentially going full steam in a new office in 2015.
“Our main driver is to make day-to-day collaboration easier,” says Arup senior business administrator Lian Heather.
“Our engineers work on numerous project teams at the same time and the individuals within those teams may be different, so being able to pick up and move quickly and easily allows greater co-ordination of project documents and better delivery outcomes for our clients.
“One of the great successes of the pilot was the introduction of the concentration space. The individual freedom to move away from the generic open-plan environment and focus on an immediate task is appreciated and regularly used. I know that this will be well received in further uptake.”
Heather said collaboration between IT and the business units was critical to solving issues before the ABW launch. The firm did not have to factor in additional IT budget – except for some laptops – as they already had most of the technology like wireless connectivity, follow-me printing, document collaboration and so forth in place.
“When asking staff to make a large-scale change such as this, any barrier will immediately create a negative reaction,” she said. “You want all interactions with technology in the ABW environment to be positive and if your IT department is not willing to invest time and energy, this would be very difficult to achieve.”
Hear Ed Cortis speak at the upcoming CIO Strategy Summit in Melbourne on February 26-28.