Friday, April 8, 2011

Open Office Plans, Popular in Europe, Gain Ground in U.S.

Via Scripps News:

Shelby Bryant admits she wasn't thrilled to learn she would be one of the guinea pigs testing a new open office environment for pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline near Raleigh, N.C.

An administrative assistant in Research Triangle Park, Bryant, 39, went from having a desk outside her boss's office to having no assigned desk or phone.

Instead of personalizing her workspace with family photos and funny cartoons, she was expected to leave her work area each day the same way she found it: pristine.

"It was a big adjustment," said Bryant, who has worked for the drug maker for 18 years. "There were a lot of distractions, and it was hard to stay focused."

But the new setup had its advantages. The lack of offices increased collaboration among colleagues, cutting down decision-making time. E-mail traffic was reduced, as was the time she spent on the phone.

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