Many organisations these days are looking for the best possible utilisation of their real estate investment, especially larger companies with buildings in big cities.
Advances in modern technology means that today’s workers do not necessarily have to be sitting at a desk in an office to get their work done, most people today have at least a smartphone and laptop, lots of them may also have a tablet device that they can use to get work done from anywhere.
These key factors are driving the design and use of large corporate office buildings away from having a dedicated desk in an office.
Organisations are redesigning office spaces to incorporate large open spaces, with collaborative spaces and a greater number of meeting rooms.
This means that people have a choice of where they work based on the task they are working on – they no longer require a permanent desk.
The difficulty in transitioning to flexible working
Where an employee has their own desk, they most likely have a small amount of dedicated storage, such as drawers under their desk.
In a flexible working environment, these drawers are no longer used, removing the concept of dedicated personal storage.
Whilst an argument could be put forward that if an organisation is truly digital, there is no requirement for storage.
Employees will still be expected to clear their workspace if it is not occupied for a certain time period, such as when someone goes out to lunch, or use a meeting room.
Their bag and work materials, must be moved off the desk into storage, leaving the desk available for someone else to use.
Secure storage then becomes critical to provide a smooth transition to flexible working.
Who is responsible for this storage?
When a flexible workspace is designed, interior designers will often design where the storage will go, how it will be secured and how it will be used.
These decisions are normally made working with the client’s facilities team.
There is often little dialogue between security and facilities – security tend to find out about lockers after they are installed, or when an incident occurs.
Effective Use of Space
When moving to this new style of office space, it is likely that there will not be one desk for each employee, the quantities will be based on the maximum number of people expected to work in the office at any one time.
When it comes to lockers however, ,most organisations opt to have one locker per employee secured with a mechanical key or combination lock, however this is not the best of space.
Cost of management
While the capital expenditure required to purchase the lockers with mechanical keys is significantly lower, the ongoing costs can be much higher.
One company I worked with on previous project determined that a security officer spent one working day per week just managing locker keys for staff at one site.
The optimal solution
The optimal solution is to deploy electronic locker management systems that can be integrated into the access control system.
This reduces the need to have a single locker per person, creating much more available space.
The access control system can provide clear ownership and an audit trail of who went to which locker and where.
This can then be introduced by Facilities, but managed by security to ensure that staff follow procedures around information security and what can be stored in their locker.
How have you implemented storage in your workspace? Let me know in the comments below!