What is benching?
It has a number of meanings, among them a recognized term in the world of body-building as well as a lesser known reference for concrete in civil and mining engineering applications.
In the office, benching is fast becoming an “a la mode” way to work, comprised of work surface spans with a central technology infrastructure. A community-centric approach, it is an option worthy of exploration by companies looking for work solutions without visual and social barriers.
A New Day at the Office
Greater utilization of space and smaller footprints have become real estate priorities. Though driven by economics, this philosophy is also supported by a demand for sustainable building. Benching fosters plentiful access to natural light, a mark of a healthy office environment. Benching also offers considerable savings, roughly 25% on space, as well as significant savings on furniture (1) and up to 15% increase in productivity (2).
Along with the implementation of other flexible work schedules and strategies, like mobile work, hoteling and remote work, today’s typical day at the office is not what it used to be. Over the last several years, a shift toward multi-user and multi-tasking spaces that better serve the more fluid nature of today’s workforce is a prominent one.
Coming Full Circle?
Ironically, office spaces appear to resemble their origins. Decades ago, when offices expanded to support a growing population of clerical workers, workers sat at rows of neatly lined desks with no dividers between them.
In the interest of increasing productivity, promoting health and wellness and improving working conditions for mid-level workers, the concept of a cubicle came to being in the late 1960′s. Over time, the concept evolved into an “office-in-a-box,” offering flexibility that hard walls did not, as well as a modicum of visual and acoustical privacy.
Today, cubicles are designed in ways that are more open and collaborative. Benching takes this trend even further.
Working Smaller and Smarter
Bench configurations feature side-by-side and face-to-face applications for multi-person collaboration and individual workers. It can be ideal for types of workers who:
- work daily in the same office space who have collaboration needs (i.e. established groups or departments)
- drop in to an office setting on a regular basis but conduct the bulk of their work outside the office (may or may not need to collaborate often with others)
- collaborate with others on a project by project basis (i.e. flexible teams
Insider Opinion by Kristen Haren
1 CoreNet Global/Steelcase survey, 2009
This exerpt is from http://insideintelligenceonline.com/