Contract - May 2011 - (Page 124)
design case study:
productive, people-friendly places
Flexible workspaces that really enhance collaboration
By Kathleen Kelley, IIDA, LEED AP, senior workplace design manager, eBay
Flexibility is the watchword in contempora workplace design. But workers are not always on board for radical changes, especially if it means reducing the size of their workstations. Simply introducing a plethora of spaces for teaming and informal interaction will not encourage collaboration on its own, unless those spaces are tailored to the speciﬁc needs of the employees—and readily adaptable. In 2009, eBay initiated a new workplace design to better support the variety of ways that its teams work. Design ﬁrm Valerio Dewalt Train Associates collaborated with eBay’s internal Workplace Resources Team to develop a series of pilot projects intended to establish the new corporate workplace standard. Now implemented in San Jose and Austin, the resulting holistic workplace environment and new modular “kit of parts” furniture have facilitated communication, innovation, and increased productivity.
In eBay’s pilot projects in San Jose and Austin, Steelcase’s post-and-beam system and lounge furniture deﬁne the Project Lounges, where teams can work for the duration of a project. Vitra’s Alcove high-back sofas create “Huddle” areas for impromptu semi-private conversations (above; photo ©David Wakely Photography).
Setting Goals, Fact-Finding, and Testing Ideas
The upfront goals were to take a holistic look at the eBay workplace environment, develop a plan that would respond to requirements from teams in each business unit and corporate function, support both teamwork and individual work, and include a range of collaborative areas. An additional goal was to devise a new workstation standard that increased modularity and allowed teams to easily reconﬁgure their workspaces without intervention from the facilities tech staﬀ. The design process began with research and tours of other technology companies to identify best practices. Also, eBay engaged consultant ﬁrm iOmetrics to conduct an online survey of more than 5,000 employees in eBay’s San Jose and Austin campuses to determine what worked and what did not in their current workplaces. The survey results largely drove the design. Employees responded that they wanted informal places to meet. The existing conference rooms required reservations and did not allow for spontaneous collaboration. Employees and managers wanted more sophisticated technology, such as increased videoconferencing and LED screens, in lieu of the existing projectors. The team partnered with eBay’s IT department to add these features and continues to engage in ongoing collaboration to incorporate new technology as it becomes available.
Once the survey was completed and the space plans began, the design team developed workplace furniture mock-ups with seven manufacturers to test program concepts. Knoll – KBM Workspace was selected as furniture manufacture partner, and the spaces incorporate furniture from a variety of other manufacturers, as well. A cross-section of business unit teams and leaders were consulted to further reﬁne workplace needs. The design process was accompanied by a change management process with the help of DEGW in San Francisco. The change process included meetings with executive leaders, interviews with business unit team leaders, presentations of survey results, the creation of a workplace Web site, storage workshops, space use protocol workshops, and move-in support. A er move-in, early focus groups were held, and a formal post-move survey was implemented a er four months.
Developing New Spaces for Interaction
In total, eight new collaborative venues were created. “Think” rooms support concentrated individual work and private phone conversations. “Focus” rooms have two chairs for one-on-one interaction. “Keep and Meet” areas facilitate small team meetings with whiteboards and a common tabletop resting on team ﬁle storage. “Talk” booths are for quick mobile phone conversations away from the open workplace. “Connect” areas make use
contract may 2011
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - May 2011
Contract - May 2011
Resources: Salone Internazionale Del Mobile
Exhibition: Neocon® Preview
Focus: Timeless Tradition
Focus: In the Nude
Green: Does It Cost More to Build Green?
Practice: Gimme Some Slack!
Process: Cultural Connection
Process: Productive, People-Friendly Places
Contract - May 2011