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Self-help in FM

14 December 2011

Facilities management academics at Sheffield Hallam University are more used to advising outside organisations about how to re-imagine their workspaces - but they have played an integral part in the revamp of their own business engagement centre.

The TSK Business Engagement Centre, which opened for staff at Sheffield Business School this week is the result of a revamp of existing office space spearheaded by the Centre for Facilities Management Development (CFMD).

Working with Manchester-based work based specialists TSK, the team drew from its own research about how companies can make better use of its space. This has lead to a more motivated and engaged workforce and the creation of the centre.

Professor If Price, one of the academics behind the new-look centre, said: "We are absolutely certain that we have delivered a smaller space that can accommodate a wider range of business needs. It sets the benchmark for the University and its competitors to follow."

The cramped warren of offices and corridors have been replaced by open office space for the school executive functions, break-out areas, a new business suite and ideas lab.

The redesign has led to meeting space capacity in Sheffield Business School being doubled, while space devoted to desks has been reduced by 25 per cent.

Professor Price continued: "The new-look space has created a new kind of environment for employees by doing something very different with space. Rather than a traditional approach, this project has taken the business of work as its main guiding principle.

"It creates a new identity for Sheffield Business School without the need for a new building. And it is a case of practising what we preach in terms of applying our own external research to an internal University space.

"By acknowledging the need for flexibility, the space is now more energy efficient and more productive, and can be used as an example of best practise in higher education facilities management."

Robin Moore from TSK said its workplace design consultants looked at how employees communicate and deliver their tasks, and then provided an environment that empowered the team to achieve their goals efficiently.

He said: "The new settings support different styles of working and are responsive to a range of needs created by the modern business environment. The TSK Business Engagement Centre not only provides a home for the executive and administration, it is also the point of contact for commercial organisations who are seeking to adopt new techniques and protocols as well as the skills required to manage their workplaces as effective business tools.

"The aim of our collaboration is to provide an opportunity to explore, discover, innovate and deliver competitive advantage. It brings together academic innovation and practical delivery for the first time."

Adrian Hopgood, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Sheffield Business School said: “This is an exciting new space in which staff, students and our clients can interact and work together in a physical representation of the 'business school without walls'. The centre is part of an ongoing journey to provide high-quality space that facilitates personal engagement across Sheffield Business School.”

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