Work+ FAQs

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What's wrong with my current workspace?

There may not be anything wrong with your current workplace. However, there are a number of common challenges faced by individuals and teams that Work+ helps to solve:

  • Space may be outdated, be used inefficiently, not be stimulating or inspiring, lack variety, not contain sufficient space for collaboration, and not represent the values and vision or your team unit, or the university.
  • Technology: Technology may be outdated, complicated, or impeding effective work. There may also be new technology options which you’re not yet aware of or not yet using that could help, such as new communication and collaboration tools. You may also have not had an opportunity for training in these tools.
  • Organizational Issues: Teams may be separated. There may be organizational changes that space could help reinforce. You may also be rolling out new business processes or systems that will impact space and space may also be used to increase the attraction and retention of staff.

How does this differ from a traditional remodel?

Work+ projects differ from traditional projects in 4 key ways (link to Work+ vs. Traditional page above): the process is more inclusive and engaging; there is a greater variety of spaces and driven by the workstyles and teams rather than one-size-fits all by title; the technology is provided and supported with a mobile workforce in mind, and there is a proactive approach to HR by providing training and setting norms to make the best use of the workplace.

Isn't this just a way to reduce the size of my workspace?

No. The program aims to make work more efficient, effective, and satisfying simultaneously. While some groups may end up with less space than they have now, this will likely be the result of “catching up” the space with how they work - reducing the amount of paper/storage, providing less individual space but more collaborative spaces, and creating more effective layouts.

Does this work for everyone?

While the Work+ program will benefit most groups at the U, we recognize that not every group will be an ideal candidate. Groups that are experiencing some of the challenges above (link to Why Work+ page above) will certainly benefit. Other characteristics include groups that are highly collaborative, groups who are already mobile (e.g: attending lots meetings around campus or working independently) or already “managing by results” which clear goals and performance measures for staff.

What if I have special considerations?

While the traditional approach to workspace is mainly one-size-fits all according to your title, the Work+ program provides for a more tailored approach. Based on information gathered through interviews, observations, surveys, and workshops, the Work+ program helps identify the “workstyles” of individuals and teams and provide space, technology, and training accordingly.

Why are you taking away my workspace?

The Work+ program allocates space based on the “workstyle” of an individual - developed from our survey and discussed with managers. “Resident” workstyles are assigned a dedicated space. People with “Mobile” workstyles, gain the ability to work in a variety of different kinds of spaces and these are allocated based on how they are likely to be used. So, if you only spend a few hours a day at a desk (or less), it makes sense for you to use a pool of shared desks and allocate the space saved to a greater variety of spaces such as formal and informal collaboration areas, quiet focus areas, phone rooms, and lounges.

What are workstyles?

Visit the Workstyles web page for frequently asked questions on the topic.

Will I be able to concentrate ad do focused work?

Work+ provides a variety of open and enclosed spaces to get work done, based on the “workstyle” of the groups involved. Being able to do quiet focused work is important, and offer better supported in an alternative workplace strategy. This is because norms are explicitly set in all spaces, there is a greater variety of spaces, and mobile workers can choose the right setting for the work to be done; for instance, working on focused work quiet room where there are no phones.

How do I maintain confidentiality and privacy?

Privacy and confidentiality can both be achieved in an alternative workplace strategy environment like Work+. However, these are accomplished a bit differently than in traditional ones. The workplace will include a variety of shared spaces like small meeting rooms and phone rooms that offer privacy for meetings and calls. These rooms can be booked or used as needed. Likewise, confidential materials can be stored individually or by group. For groups that as a whole deal with confidential materials continuously, suites of space with controlled access can be created.

If I become a mobile worker, where is my stuff?

Mobile workers will be provided with a storage locker for their files, equipment, and belongings. At the same time, technology and training is provided to enable people to transition to using less paper so that this is less of a burden and mobile work runs smoothly.

How will people find me?

Since mobile workers will not have one assigned space but rather chose from a variety of spaces to work in, how people find you may be a bit different but there are variety of options such as email, chat, VOIP phone, “soft” phone on a laptop. Each group will also be encourage to set an explicit norm or protocol about how this should work in order to streamline the process.

How does a neighborhood become personal?

While in traditional workplaces, people personalize their individual workspace, in alternative workplace strategy environments like Work+, overall neighborhoods spaces provide the opportunities to express the values and work of your team. Your department will decide during the Work+ process whether to provide display boards, photo boards, team signage and digital platforms (like display screens, intranets and social media tools).


How does this change what I do as a manager?

Work+ is designed to better support the organizational goals of groups rather than impede them. So, as a manager, when you staff works a bit differently, you may have to adapt as well - generally in 3 ways: how you plan, what you do, and how you review what other people do.

  • In terms of planning, you’ll need to be more explicit and concrete about coordinating schedules, being accessible to their staff, and setting and sharing goals.
  • In the work you do, you’ll need to rely more on technology to collaborate and communicate, as well as find different ways to communicate and put more effort into how they build community / culture.
  • In how you review the work of your staff, you’ll need to find different ways to and use technology to measure performance, share knowledge, and facilitate the development of their team. 

(For more information view the Managing Flexible Teams training presentation.)