Work+ vs. Traditional

Work+ vs. Traditional Design Process

The chart below details some of the differences between Work+ and the conventional design process at the University of Minnesota. 
(View as a detailed PDF chart )

Traditional Project Work+ Project
Planning process is mostly formula-driven with limited opportunities for input and doesn’t address technology and organizational issues. Process engages participants through interviews, observations, surveys, and workshops and considers space, technology, and HR issues holistically
Space is allocated based on your title, with only a few places to get work done - basically desks and conference rooms Space is not one-size fits all and is allocated based on the work you do, with a variety of places to work, including quiet areas, lounges, and more collaboration spaces
Technology provided largely assuming everyone is able to get the most out of the technology. Training and support are provided so that participants can leverage their tools to work anywhere and enhance collaboration
Training typically not considered as part of a renovation / relocation Proactive approach by providing training on new ways of working,setting norms for how groups use space and technology
Evaluation of project success through informal means Formal post-occupancy evaluation to measure project success and make adjustments if needed


New Spaces and Technology

Spaces and technology that support working in new ways include:

Quiet-Focus Areas
Phone Rooms
Touchdown Areas
Informal Work Areas
Mobile Communication
Shared Documents and Info
Shared Spaces and Devices


A Work+ project:

  • Can support larger changes already underway becoming more holistic about the interconnection between space, productivity, culture and engagement
  • Changes the focus from first creating dedicated heads-down work to first creating spaces that support the work and focuses on what the work is, not the number and titles of impacted workers
  • Requires surveying employees on functionality of Space, IT and HR related issues prior to design
  • Requires the team to discuss and agree on expectations for communication and collaboration
  • Requires education and training on IT tools to gain full functionality
  • Requires HR Change Management support for the new way of working – focusing on how to achieve the desired work results
  • Includes an expectation that additional types of spaces can be created out of space saved from under-utilized workspaces while still saving space compared to a traditional layout
  • Shifts discussion about space from an entitlement to a tool that ties directly to the required activities 

Included space types (may be unique based on the work of the group):

  • Small quiet spaces for phone calls
  • Collaboration space
  • Non-dedicated workstations
  • Soft seating areas
  • Filing/storage areas dedicated to mobile workers
  • After the construction of the space;
  • Post-move surveying to see how well the new space supports the work
  • Space may be adjusted as part of the project, to fix minor issues
  • Space is easier to grow or shrink to adapt to changes in number of workers using the space