Barco ClickShare for ExxonMobil’s open office

'Workplace Evolution 3’ introduces ‘activity based environment.’ But is it productive?

ExxonMobil’s new workplace evolution 3 (We3) office environment at its Houston campus, goes beyond open plan in an effort to improve collaboration and productivity while reducing costs. We3 introduces a new ‘activity-based’ environment where employees are no longer assigned a fixed desk. Instead they can choose the best workspace for a particular task. To develop the We3, ExxonMobil used employee surveys and seat sensors to track how space was utilized. The result is that collaboration space use is up, costs are down and access to outdoor views* is up. Key enabling technology for We3 is Barco’s ClickShare, a plug-in device that enables content sharing across laptops, smartphones and the large screen.

Without wanting to cast doubt on ExxonMobil’s brave new office, it behooves us to record that Lindsey Kaufman, writing in the Washington Post, cited a 2013 study that found workers in open offices ‘frustrated by distractions that lead to poorer work performance.’

* An earlier attempt (circa 1960) to hike office productivity at the then Elf Aquitaine’s location in Boussens, France placed the windows high up to prevent workers gazing out at the mountains!

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