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Jack Cooper
Jack Cooper
  • 1 Minute Read
  • 01st July 2013

Foreign Office to Spend £60m on Open-Plan Offices

A contract to renovate office spaces for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office is out to tender, with an estimated value of between £40m and £60m.

The estate reform project seeks to consolidate two offices into one site at King Charles Street in London, and replace single occupancy offices with open place spaces to increase capacity.

This news comes just days after a report by The Independent shed light on the attitudes towards open plan spaces held by employees, with many describing an inability to concentrate when too close to co-workers.

While open spaces are reportedly beneficial for employee cooperation, non-collaborative tasks are better performed in private, dedicated spaces.

Nine out of ten workers in he global knowledge economy said duties needing deep concentration, such as programming, reading, or writing complex material were critical to their job - 55 per cent of their time at work - a figure up 14 per cent since 2007.

With concentration levels described as down in open-plan spaces, the findings of the paper could have a far-reaching impact on the future of office layouts.

Open-office design became popular in post-war Germany, when designers wanted to break the tradition of factory-style desk arrangements facing the same direction - toward management, often found in a separate office.

The FCO's decision to champion the open-plan design is likely down to staff expansion.

A supplier day will be held in Whitehall on 15 July, to tell potential bidders more about the scope of the project. The deadline for registering interest in the day is 5pm 8 July.