Coalition Government to Learn from Councils use of Office Space?
More evidence of a Lib Dem / Conservative coalition working effectively ΓÇô and already achieving the new governments aim of reducing public sector waste ΓÇô appears to have been found in Birmingham City CouncilsΓÇÖ Workspace 2011 project in which office space for some 9000 council workers will be refurnished to provide modern offices in Birmingham that deliver better facilities and encourage flexible working practices.
The first step on this project, which it is hoped will save the council ┬ú100m over a 25 year period, was to convert 3,360 sq ft of basement office space into a working example of how they envisage the office space of the future and achieve the following overall aims:
- Create a more efficient and flexible workspace in the basement of BirminghamΓÇÖs Council House extension to be occupied ultimately by Birmingham Property Services
- Use the refurbishment to show other council employees how their new office working practices might work, with 9,000 employees expected to be in similar refurbished offices by 2015
- Get early feedback on any flaws to the new working practices before they are implemented elsewhere
- Test out new IT solutions that would be used in the new office spaces
Core changes that could clearly be adopted by the new Lib Dem / Conservative government in the quest to cut public waste are the reduction of space needed for each member of office staff from 124 to 53 sq ft and subsequently allowing more people to operate within any given office space.
While the reductions and changes in office space usage may sound like the creation of a cattle pen system, upon viewing pictures of the actual office space and reading the comments of the 1000 council workers who were encouraged to visit the sample office space and provide feedback, a modern, bright and open plan space that is liked by council workers certainly seems to have been achieved.