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SASBE conference Shanghai - Pleasant , Productive and Possible - The future of sustainable work

December 2006 | Andy van den Dobbelsteen, Wim Pullen, Hans de Jonge

In the future ever more people will find work in the service economy. These professional services are traditionally offered from the office. Studies have clarified that a traditional way of working does not contribute to sustainable development. A different approach is necessary for better environmental performance of the offices themselves, yet also to comply with present-day needs. Many activities presently performed at the central offices can be physically disconnected and executed at various places. New ways of working are based on detaching work activities from the office and blending them with other everyday life. There may be two basic approaches to establishing this: extrovert and introvert. Both approaches have common solutions but differ in the location of mixed space for working, living, leisure and amenities: distributed outside the office, in the city, or concentrated inside the office, which becomes a city of its own. Both directions will be exemplified in the paper.

A new way of working has decisive effects on the organisation, facility management and layout of offices. Assessments indicate significant improvement in terms of the use of space, building materials and energy, reduction of commuter travel, yet also to organisational efficiency, implying financial benefits. Hence, office work can be more productive for the company, pleasant for the individual employee and sustainable to society. Being based on existing solutions, it is possible too. There are, of course, considerations related to this, which will be discussed in the paper which was introduced at the SASBE Conference in Shanghai.


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