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Corporate open spaces: the conditional bet to combine luxury and performance.

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it’s the truth open spaces It definitely got bad press. However, a careful and proven analysis of the academic work and practices observed in the contemporary period, particularly within large, enlightened firms, tends to at least qualify this representation. This is subject to conditional reservations, which we will emphasize. It is important to first define some initial concepts for this purpose to illustrate the possible interrelationship between well-being and performance, within an open spatial framework.

With regard to well-being at work, researchers distinguish, in a compact way, between two common concerns. The first, more or less objective in nature, relates to the physical environment of the work and its perceived quality (luminosity, furniture, acoustics, spatial configuration, etc.), and the second, more subjective, refers to the environment Social Psychology Work, based on emotional, social, relational and cognitive components. This is particularly with regard to exchanges and collaborations with various players, ie managers and colleagues. But also proximity to the culture and values ​​that the organization effectively advocates and implements. More broadly, this refers to feeling perceived confidence in relation to this environment and feeling perceived in this way. We will complement this discussion by emphasizing that quality of work, quality of employment, and a sense of fairness are essential components of the perception of well-being. It is important to note that this concept differs from the concept related to job satisfaction in the sense that it is often felt by employees in the short term, and the feeling of well-being is supposed to stabilize in the medium and long term. These two concepts can in no way be compared to the mystical and incantatory concept of commanding happiness that is propagated in some companies.

The Anglo-Saxon academic literature of recent years has generally highlighted the proximity of notions of well-being (or even satisfaction) in work and performance in relation to employee and corporate sentiments.

Conditional temptation…

But we need to go further to support this combination with two common conditions confirmed by research and triggered by empirical observation: firm maturity and spatial attractiveness.

The first expresses, in our opinion, the will and real ability assumed by the enlightened leaders effectively to experiment and change the organization of work and its environment significantly in its various components, particularly the administrative, technological and organizational. This is, on the one hand, by empowering and empowering managers (especially local managers) and their collaborators, and on the other hand, by encouraging comprehensive and networked collaboration, beyond simple mantras or contradictory orders of often counterproductive effects. We can identify two polar levels of maturity, which will be uniquely highlighted on the occasion of the pandemic crisis, around an intermediate region. The most successful companies are associated with enlightened companies, often of great size, whose management has already culturally internalized them through trust and accountability. But we can also add companies that have cleverly seized the opportunities associated with this epidemiological situation to reconsider their modus operandi by gradually and accompanyingly giving them, in particular to field staff, the necessary autonomy to imagine appropriate responses. Against this offensive approach and in a push manner, one finds companies that have opted for a defensive type posture in the form of a return to order and recovery at hand. This may be particularly the case for “junior” managers who fear the empowerment gained during this period by some of their collaborators and the associated loss of control. This refers to a form of culture of the present (rather than real activity) linked to the industrial logic of yesterday’s world.

The second condition with which it is often associated refers to spatial attractiveness in reference to more qualitative, interactive, enriching, and diverse environments. These configurations have been enforced especially from 2010 in some large organizations, and they are strictly based on usages activity, hence the name toActivity based work. Based on principles similar to those of Flexible office (In particular the non-territorialization of offices), this device uniquely differs from it in terms of qualitative enrichment, with the aim of increasing comfort and collaboration between users. This is how the activity of users is understood in the sense that they use, during the day, the spaces strictly designated for their activities (individual or group), according to their needs at a given moment. This translates into diversifying different spaces with specific uses: “public spaces” (public meetings), “neighborhoods” (small groups with similar activities), “work tables” (one-off and limited-time collaborative projects), etc. Recent research work largely confirms, from the perspective of employees, the beneficial effects in terms of productive and cognitive performance.

…and its limits.

However, if these new conditional requirements seem promising, they certainly remain partly selective. In addition to the fact that only remote work activities are in the minority, this bet is mainly available to a group of qualified young executives, who instead work in a large group with a solid reputation and located in a large and attractive conglomerate. But other equally promising avenues are unfolding in the regions.

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