200,000 academic staff in UK universities typically work in office space that differs significantly from the rest of the country’s offices. Most academics work, surrounded by books and papers, in their own enclosed individual offices or in small group offices. By contrast, the majority of office-based employees in the rest of the economy work in open offices shared with many other people, and very few books or files. Is this difference essentially due to the special nature of academic work? Do academics really need individual offices, or should they use shared offices like most other office workers?
This was hotly debated at a recent seminar hosted by AMA Alexi Marmot Associates attended by around 30 academics and estates professionals from sixteen UK universities, where issues of status, academics wish to personalise their workspace and to store many books and papers, the importance of a sense of belonging, the influence of changing student requirements, the role of interdisciplinary, and the importance of consultation when changing academic workspace were discussed, among several other topics.
A report which summarises the discussion is now available here.