New Placemakers: Unconventional Workplace Providers

Many organizations are beginning to look to unconventional sources for the provision of workplaces. This figures as part of an effort to use all existing space more efficiently and effectively, and to treat space more as a commodity (buy and use it as needed, then discard it) than as a reflection of corporate identity (the so-called “edifice complex”). Diverse organizations are responding to this demand. New “placemakers” range from firms like Kinko’s-which now provides not just copy services, but also videoconferencing facilities, meeting rooms, and drop-in workspaces-to hotels. Many hotels now contract guest rooms and meeting spaces to corporations for regular, but periodic use. The IWSP research program has examined:

* the use of hotel suites as home offices by field sales staff on remote assignments;

* the use of hotel lobbies as meeting rooms by employees working from telework centers;

* the use by firms of space provided by alliance partners to house employees on a drop-in basis;

* how employees respond to working in some of these unconventional work settings;

* how these settings function as part of an Integrated Workplace Strategy.