SUBSCRIBE: Newsletter

Human Resources

Toggle

Article

KNOL Ontwerp Out of Office

Is your open-plan office an experiment? [PHOTOS]

For the 5th consecutive year, HR Distinction awards will again honour the very best in the HR industry. Winning is both an affirmation of the exceptional quality of your work in the industry and among peers. Book your gala dinner table now
Contact us now for more details.

Open-plan offices are starting to becoming more and more common, but if you found out the space was actually an experiment in human behaviour?

That is exactly what 50 unsuspecting people had to deal with when a new flexible working space in the Netherlands when from fun to freaky over the course of a month.

Last spring, two artists from KNOL Ontwerp, Celine de Waal Malefijt and Jorien Kemerink, were commissioned by a contemporary art gallery, where they decided to investigate “our nomadic and flexible work behaviour in a critical context”.

“Aren’t we slowly becoming slaves of our own freedom of choice? We can hardly bring ourselves to unplug anymore,” de Waal Malefijt said.

In the beginning, they created a space for freelance workers which was worthy of office envy. It boasted colourful furniture, a bed people could work in, a coffee bar, and even a pet bunny.

KNOL Ontwerp Out of Office KNOL Ontwerp Out of Office

However, de Waal Malefijt and Kemerink slowly began removing the perks while monitoring the workers’ reactions.

First, they took away a rug, then the plants and rabbit, and soon all the deco was replaced by grey cubicles. The artists also hired an actor to play the role of a micro-managing boss, who used motion sensors to track the employees’ movements and productivity levels.

“The goal was not to create a cubicle inferno but to honestly investigate the opportunity of liberation through an organised and disciplined setting,” Anna Dekker, who worked on the project’s  concept, social research and communication, said.

KNOL Ontwerp Out of Office KNOL Ontwerp Out of Office

While a few workers stopped coming back to the space, those who stayed said they were more productive.

“It does help that Steve [the actor] is around to keep the volume down. Working in a cubicle is less cozy but it does increase my productivity”, said a flexworker.

KNOL Ontwerp Out of Office

“We can conclude that flexworking is something very personal; most people value the freedom in their work a lot. They are easily satisfied with the basics for a flexible day plus some creative comfort.

“Perhaps most people did not ‘voluntarily’ choose work in the final setting, but generally noticed the positive effect on their work day,” Joep Slagter, the in-charge for the motion tracking technology, said.

Images by Corneel de Wilde for KNOL Ontwerp

Human Resources magazine and the HR Bulletin daily email newsletter:
Asia's only regional HR print and digital media brand.
Register for your FREE subscription now »

Read More News

in Hong Kong by

人才為本面向未來

中國銀行(香港)人才的招聘與培養,既是這家銀行巨輪過去百年發展壯大的堅定基石,更是未來百年騰飛遠航的不竭動力。..

Trending

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.