Roomtag favorite Tony Hsieh, founder and CEO of ecommerce shoe giant Zappos, recently gave an interview citing multiple studies describing the correlation between productivity, innovation and office space size. The idea is that minimizing space between employees by connecting desks and offices and creating shared works paces will increase what he calls “collisions” that lead to increased interactions, stimulation and therefore productive innovation.
In one such cited study, when distance between two employees doubles frequency of contact decreases by eight times as much! Because most office buildings occupied today are founded in the design of past decades with long corridors and coveted corner offices, perhaps the biggest challenge is not just building common, shared works paces to perpetuate circulation among co-workers but to get employees to accept this new office structure.
Sure, the corner office with a closed door may be convenient but Tony argues that those isolated offices come at the expense of valuable employee interaction which takes an organization to the next level, so to speak. Tony says, “I hear the phrase all the time ‘our people are our most valuable assets’ so what can a company do to guarantee that they are getting the most production out of their assets?”
For many who study the new workplace, employing a new strategy can measurably make your space more productive. We like the way Tony talks about it the best:
“He thinks about all of downtown Vegas as a ‘collision bowl,’ where the value of a given resident derives from his or her potential ‘collisionable community hours.’ Figure a given resident (many of them his employees or entrepreneurs he has invested in) contributes about 1,000 collisionable community hours a year. Multiple that by 100 residents per acre, and you’ve got 100,000 collisionable community hours per acre per year. Slice that down to real estate-speak, and he’s looking at 2.3 collisionable hours per square foot per year.”
Looking at your work space real estate in those terms will throw your real estate broker for a ride!
-Hewitt Tomlin, Marketing Associate
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